Business Insider reports that Amazon, having "struggled to open physical stores amid high costs and tension with Whole Foods," has decided to pause "the rollout of self-checkout Amazon Fresh stores following disappointing sales and economic headwinds."
Planned store openings will proceed if leases have been signed and construction has begun, but new stores and leases are, for the moment at least, on hold.
Previous reports have said that Amazon is reorganizing its food retail team, with an eye toward correcting some of the internal dysfunction that has characterized it.
- KC's View:
Okay, time for some hard truths and tough love.
If the Amazon Fresh physical stores are not living up to expectations, it is because …
stick with me now, Amazon …
…they are crappy stores.
Now, to be clear, I have not been to all of them. But the ones I have been to have struck me as underwhelming, poorly merchandised, and basically designed to be dark stores that happen to let customers in to shop. The technology is great, but the stores themselves are soulless.
Want to fix the dysfunction? Hire someone with strong store operational experience and empower them to do what is necessary to make these stores run right. Amazon, if you want some suggestions, call me. Email me.
I actually don't think this is hard to fix. But I do think it is a matter of misplaced priorities and poor leadership, and it will require some strong hands at the tiller to put things right.