Solving the Perishable Problem


Selling perishables on e-commerce is a long-standing challenge for brands and retailers alike. Some e-tailers have been able to tackle the issue, but only for specific subcategories: Postmates delivers restaurant meals, Instacart delivers groceries, Dominos delivers pizzas, and your savvy local flower shop delivers bouquets. The perishable problem can be boiled down to three elements: it’s too expensive, there isn’t a large enough selection, or it’s too inconvenient.

Amazon has been trying for some time to conquer perishables. The retailer’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods Market gives them 473 potential distribution locations, injecting supply chain control to Prime Now and Amazon Fresh (which may eventually combine into one service). Taking advantage of their distribution network, Amazon recently opened a plants store, delivering flowers, succulents, and other houseplants.

Because of Amazon’s supply chain capabilities, they are able to solve for all three elements of the perishable problem by offering low prices, vast selections, and speedy delivery times.