Amazon takes on the corner store with Instant Pickup

Why Amazon is buying Whole Foods
Why Amazon is buying Whole Foods

Sometimes you need a cold soda, chips, tampons and an Amazon Echo ASAP.

Amazon (AMZN) is taking on the convenience store with Amazon Instant Pickup, a new service it launched on Tuesday. Instant pickup lets customers order from a limited list of basic supplies and Amazon devices from the app, then pick them up from a nearby pickup locker "within two minutes."

amazon instant pickup

The company is starting with customers often associated with sudden cravings for snacks: college students.

Instant Pickup will make use of the company's existing network of pickup locations -- small spaces with rows of lockers, an inventory room and a staff of Amazon employees. Currently the lockers are used by customers to pick up regular Amazon Prime packages and drop off returns.

Related: Amazon wrecked the mall. Now it's coming for the grocery store

It works similarly for the Instant Pickup. A Prime customer uses the Amazon app to choose what they want from among hundreds of non-perishable foods, personal care items and other products that are stocked at the location. Then one of the location employees will quickly move the goods into a locker.

Related: Germany's Aldi takes on Amazon in food fight

Impulse buys are also available, should customers decide they want something sweet and salty once they get there.

Starting this week, Instant Pickup will be available at five campus locations in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Columbus, Ohio, Berkeley, California and College Park, Maryland. Amazon plans on expanding Instant Pickup to its 22 U.S. college locations as early as next week.

Amazon regularly experiments with different food and grocery services. It's planning to buy Whole Foods, and is testing Blue Apron-like meal kits delivery service. AmazonFresh Pickup, only available in two Seattle locations, has employees put groceries right in the trunk of your car.

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