A new program was quietly launched today on Amazon.com. It's called Amazon Prime Pantry, and it is basically a challenge to see how many groceries an Amazon customer can fit into a box.
Amazon Prime Pantry is a flat rate shipping option that Amazon is now offering to Prime members. In addition to free 2-day shipping and ridiculously cheap overnight shipping on hundreds of thousands of items, Amazon is now going to let Prime members pay $6 per box to ship as many grocery items as can fit into a 4 cubic foot box without going over a weight limit (45 pounds).
Amazon packs the box automatically, and as you load up your virtual shopping cart they will offer a running total of just how how full the box is.
This shipping option is not available for all Prime items, just consumables like food, soaps and detergent, pet care, and other household items that need to be replaced on a regular basis. It's the type of goods that everyone buys a lot of but no one really likes to go shopping for, and now Amazon wants to save their customers the headache.
And given the timing, Amazon is probably also firing back at Target. With annual revenues of $72.5 billion in 2013, Target is actually a larger retailer in the US market than Amazon, and Target expanded their Target Subscription service last week to include 1,500 consumables. Target customers can schedule regular purchases and get free shipping, a 5% discount, and an additional 5% off if the purchase is made with a Target card.
Does anyone else think this is the early stages of a price war?