Did Amazon Pantry outlive its usefulness?
Amazon.com last week discontinued its single large box service known as Amazon Pantry. The service had been seen as a way to sell less expensive household items online that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive to ship.
As part of the move, thousands of products previously available under the Pantry banner were folded into Amazon’s main retail site.
Launched in 2014, Amazon Pantry was initially called Prime Pantry and reserved for Prime members. Users filled a single box with non-perishable household goods based on a formula of weight and size and paid a delivery fee of $5.99. Each Prime Pantry box could hold four cubic feet of merchandise, or 45 pounds. The box arrived in one to four days.
In 2018, Amazon converted Pantry into a $5 monthly subscription service. The updated service offered unlimited Pantry orders each month for orders of at least $40 worth of merchandise.
The program promised savings through bulk shipping with no bulk or multiple purchases required. Pantry also eliminated the need to visit stores for regularly purchased items. The program’s marketing pitch stated, “Skip the trip to the grocery store and let us do the heavy lifting.”
Since the launch, Amazon has significantly expanded its grocery reach, acquiring Whole Foods in 2017 and launching its Amazon Go and AmazonFresh concepts. In 2019, Amazon Fresh delivery became a Prime perk rather than a monthly fee. Free delivery from Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods, often within a two-hour timeframe, are available for orders over $35.
An Amazon spokesperson said in an email to Bloomberg, “As part of our commitment to delivering the best possible customer experience, we have decided to transfer Amazon Pantry selection to the main Amazon.com store so customers can get everyday household products faster, without an extra subscription or purchase requirement.”
The discontinuance comes amid aggressive moves to speed grocery delivery amid the pandemic. In early December, the Walmart+ subscription plan eliminated the requirement for a $35 minimum purchase to qualify for free next-day and two-day shipping.
- Amazon Pantry is being discontinued as Amazon consolidates its grocery delivery services- The Verge
- Amazon Shutters Prime Pantry, an Early Online Grocery Initiative – Bloomberg
- Amazon opens its pantry program to Prime members – RetailWire
- Amazon shifts to a subscription model for Prime Pantry – RetailWire
- Target Restock Next-Day Essentials Delivery Now Available Nationwide for $2.99—and Free With REDcard – Target
- Kroger Ship – Kroger
- Kroger Ship to Integrate a Marketplace this Fall – Kroger
- Will ending minimum purchases turn Walmart+ into a serious Amazon Prime rival? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Has Pantry’s business model, based on bundled online orders of household essentials, become outdated? What do you think drove the decision to discontinue the service and can an online essentials stock-up scheme work for other retailers?