Mobile Commerce

Amazon Gets Its Food On, Opens Restaurant Division

Amazon is building up staff to beef up a new division tied to restaurants in Seattle and New York, with an eye on expanding a meal delivery service, Reuters reported Friday (Aug. 4), citing posts on both LinkedIn and Amazon’s delivery site.

Reuters said that the eCommerce giant has been in the process of forming a division titled Amazon Restaurants that “could mean” it is preparing to enter the ever-competitive fray that is the meal delivery market and step up the pace against more entrenched players like GrubHub.

Though the division’s mission and parameters at this point remain unclear, the job descriptions — at least one of them — indicate that Amazon is looking to push its restaurant delivery service beyond Seattle, where the company is testing its meal delivery operation. Reuters noted that there are more than a dozen job listings for an “Amazon Restaurants” that is based in Seattle and New York.

There are also, said Reuters, half a dozen postings for a division listed as “Amazon Restaurants and Travel,” which the newswire said is a likely a separate unit. And in another nod to sleuthing via social media, Reuters noted that five employees of Amazon have updated their LinkedIn profiles within the past several months to show that they are, in their professional experience, working for Amazon Restaurants, with one of those notably having come to the division from GrubHub.

Amazon already has a restaurant platform up and running in Seattle, through Amazon Local, and with that website and app, users can order food for delivery. However, one wrinkle is that deliveries are completed by staff members at the restaurants from which meals have been ordered, rather than from Amazon.

Elsewhere in Seattle, Amazon has been testing a meal delivery service that uses drivers for Prime Now, with delivery guaranteed within two hours. In other iterations of food delivery, the company has been rolling out a “market goods” food delivery service in California.

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Social distancing has changed eCommerce from a ‘want to have’ to a ‘must have’ for businesses, yet retailers could struggle to create convenient payment and refund experiences for their apps and websites, says Abdul Raof Latiff, head of DBS Bank’s digital institutional banking group. In the April 2020 B2B API Tracker, Latiff explains how banks can provide a timely assist via application programming interfaces (APIs) that integrate payments into those eCommerce platforms.

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