Amazon Japan, one of the country’s top online retailers, is out to prove that “going online” may just be the buying preference for today and the future by challenging traditional retail outlets like supermarkets in the decision to sell beer and alcoholic drinks. Amazon announced that starting on Tuesday, it will be adding these products to the large selection of merchandise available for purchase on its website.
Beer and other alcoholic beverages have already been available in Amazon Japan for a while now, but this through individual retailers who sell on the marketplace. The retail company itself has not sold these products until the announcement starting today, where Amazon Japan is set to offer almost 6,000 brands of alcoholic beverages, including major-brand beer, and promising same-day delivery in some instances. Supermarkets have traditionally been the source for beer sold in cases. Prices there work out to be around 200 yen (around US$1.95) per 350ml can, and their prices are often lower than online retailers for logistical reasons. The catch here, of course, is that Amazon plans to match supermarkets’ beer prices. It also has a plan for wine and some liquor products, where Amazon can take advantage of parallel imports to offer much lower prices than brick-and-mortar retailers.
This action will most likely spark a new level of competition in this area, and it might prompt supermarkets to lower prices or enhance delivery services. Supermarkets are now experimenting with online shopping services, but their delivery services are logically tied to neighboring areas. Amazon Japan can take advantage of the wide delivery reach that it already has in place, looking for the online Japanese to make the logical choice of getting everything they need in one place that is able to deliver promptly.