Amazon launches grocery service


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Online retailer Amazon has launched a new service that means customers can do their grocery shopping through the company website.

Named Prime Pantry, the service allows members of the company's Prime loyalty scheme to fill a 45-pound (20kg) box and have it delivered to them.

The service has been designed to enable more convenient delivery of bulk items but will not deal in fresh food.

The Amazon website says: "Prime Pantry is a new shopping experience on Prime members can shop popular household essentials and have them conveniently delivered.

"Adding your first Prime Pantry item to Cart starts a Prime Pantry box. As you shop, you see that each Pantry item tells you what percentage of a Pantry box it fills based on its size and weight.

"Pantry boxes are large and can hold up to 45 pounds or four cubic feet of household products. As you check items off your list, we continuously track and show you how full your box is."

For the moment, the service is only available to customers in the US.

Amazon says there is a flat delivery rate charge of 5.99 dollars (£3.56), and the announcement comes alongside the launch of another new product called Dash, a barcode scanning device that enables users to create a shopping list online of items that are running low in their cupboards.

Dash currently only works with Amazon Fresh, another delivery service that sells electronics and other home goods as well as food. Currently Fresh is only available in San Francisco, southern California and some areas of Seattle but could roll out globally in the future.

The US company has been taking steps to expand its service options in recent months in order to compete with fellow technology giants like Apple and Google.

Earlier this month the Seattle-based firm launched their own TV set-top box that will enable users to stream video to their TV from the internet. Services like the popular movie streaming service Netflix have already signed up to appear on the platform, that is also a games console.

Last year, Amazon also unveiled a concept for delivering their parcels using drones as a means of making the ordering process more efficient.

In the company's quarterly figures announced yesterday, revenue was up by more than 20% compared to the same quarter of 2013 at more than 19 billion dollars (£11.3bn).