Case | HBS Case Collection | July 2014 (Revised August 2014)

AmazonFresh: Rekindling the Online Grocery Market

by Rory McDonald, Clayton Christensen, Robin Yang and Ty Hollingsworth


More than a decade after the high-profile failures of several early online grocers, grocery remains the largest single U.S. retail category and one of the few that has not yet migrated online. Amazon began testing its grocery-delivery service, AmazonFresh, in Seattle, in 2007; five years later, the company has made significant progress. The case traces the evolution of AmazonFresh's business model and describes the operating capabilities necessary to compete with brick-and-mortar supermarkets like Wal-Mart and Safeway and with new digital grocery startups. Now Amazon needs to decide on AmazonFresh's next step. Should the company continue refining its business model in Seattle or expand to another city? What factors should it take into account when planning its next move?

Keywords: innovation; strategy; competition; new markets; learning; grocery; operations strategy; Innovation and Invention; Competition; Emerging Markets; Learning; Service Operations; Online Technology; Food and Beverage Industry; United States;


McDonald, Rory, Clayton Christensen, Robin Yang, and Ty Hollingsworth. "AmazonFresh: Rekindling the Online Grocery Market." Harvard Business School Case 615-013, July 2014. (Revised August 2014.)