NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Consumers already rely on Amazon.com for buying everything from used books to electronics, but soon they may come to lean one the site for their grocery needs as well.
Amazon (Stock Quote: AMZN) has been testing a new service for several months called Amazon Tote, which allows shoppers to sign up for free weekly deliveries of food products and other items sold on the site. As of now, Amazon says millions of products are eligible to be shipped free of charge through this program.
Those interested in taking advantage of this option can simply browse the site for products they need that week, and if the item is eligible, users can add it to their virtual tote bag, and choose a day in the coming week when they’d like all their goods to be shipped. Users can continue adding items to this list until two days before the delivery date.
In this way, consumers would be able to handle all their basic shopping needs online and have the necessities delivered to their homes free of charge so they never have to contend with crowded supermarkets again. Unfortunately, there is one big downside to this program: As of now, it is still only available in Seattle, where Amazon is based. But according to one report, Amazon posted a message on the site Tuesday saying the program “will be expanding soon,” before removing that message shortly after.
While this is still a matter of speculation, it wouldn’t come as much of a surprise if Amazon made a big push for this service. In recent weeks, the company has been ambitious in launching new features, including a online tool for lending e-books free of charge and a new bulk e-mail service.
In essence, the Amazon Tote service seems to be a rebranded version of Amazon Fresh, which also allows customers to shop for groceries to be delivered by the next day. This program is also only available in Seattle. But the big difference seems to be that Amazon Tote will let customers take care of all their essential shopping needs for the week, rather than focusing on last-minute grocery orders.