Amazon Makes its Canadian Push Into Groceries and Auto

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It was only a matter of time before the world’s largest online retailer pushed its grocery and auto plans north of the border. Today the Seattle-based company has announced that Amazon.ca is launching online places for people to buy groceries and auto parts.

With the addition of these new stores, Amazon.ca has launched 14 new categories in 2013, while the Canadian site has more than doubled the product categories available to customers in Canada in 2013.

“Amazon.ca dramatically increased our selection this year, and we are pleased to now bring the Auto and Grocery stores to our customers,” said country manager Alexandre Gagnon. “We’re working to deliver an unmatched selection of everyday essentials and must-have products. With just a few clicks, customers can discover millions of items, take advantage of free shipping or Free Two Day Shipping with Amazon Prime, and have items delivered to their doorstep.”

The Globe and Mail reported that one industry expert is calling the impending market shake-up a “bloodbath”. In a time when many grocery chains are lagging in ecommerce, the newspaper said Amazon’s arrival means competition will get even more fierce.

“It’s going to be ugly, particularly in the desperately over-stored Ontario market,” Sklar Wilton & Associates told the Globe.

The Amazon.ca Grocery store will feature more than 15,000 dry food products, while the Auto store features one of Canada’s largest selections – more than 200,000 products – including auto and truck accessories; power sports, marine and RV products; tire and wheel accessories; and winter car care items.

About four percent of retail sales in Canada are made online, worth about about $19-billion, and online grocery sales make up just a fraction of one person. Nevertheless, that number is expected to jump ten-fold by 2025, according to the Globe.

One of Amazon’s main competitors, Walmart Canada told the paper that it has 2,000 food products on its e-commerce site, with 1,000 items added monthly since the site launched in late September.

In the auto parts world, Walmart Canada has 1,000 auto items via its website, while Canadian Tire Corp., which only sells tires online, indicated at last week’s Startup Canada Mashup MTL that within five to six weeks it plans to unveil its ecommerce plan.

Loblaw, the country’s largest grocer, recently launched an e-commerce site for its Joe Fresh fashion line. It offers about 80 per cent of the merchandise that it stocks in its stores.