Amazon is looking to expand its brick-and-mortar presence to convenience stores to help facilitate order placement, pickup and fulfillment.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the initiative will add stand-alone locations where shoppers can order items from their mobile devices or in-store touchscreens for same-day delivery, as well as the option to simply drive up and collect online orders.
Amazon is drawing inspiration from European models like Aldi and Lidl, as well as U.S. dollar store operators carrying a limited assortment of mostly private label goods.
The grocery pickup initiative brings Amazon into direct competition with Walmart, which is expanding that program to 25 percent of its U.S. store base of more than 4,600 stores.
Walmart has also been testing stand-alone grocery pickup centers in various markets, as well as delivery options to compete with Amazon.
Amazon has been quietly building its own drive-up grocery store in Seattle, where shoppers can collect online orders within two hours of placing them.
Grocery is proving problematic for Amazon, which has charged a premium for the slow-to-expand Amazon Fresh program. That fee has been lowered from $299 annually to $15 monthly surcharge for Prime members in any of the 10 cities where Fresh delivery is available.