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Brief Published: 9 Aug 2013

Amazon Expands into Art & Groceries


Not content with dominating the online books and electronics markets, US e-tailer Amazon has added fine art and fresh groceries to its ever-growing marketplace.

Amazon Art lists 40,000 original artworks for sale from more than 150 dealers or galleries globally – making it one of the largest online art collections for direct purchase. Prices range from $40 for prints and photographs to more than $1m for an Andy Warhol original. Users can filter and browse artworks by subject, style, colour, size, price and gallery.

“The new store features easy-to-use discovery tools to help open the art world to customers and offers detailed information about the works of art,” said Peter Faricy, vice-president of Amazon Marketplace.

The art portal follows Amazon’s expansion of its grocery delivery business. While it’s been trialling this service in Seattle for some years, it rolled out fresh food delivery to Los Angeles in June 2013 (see Stylus’ thread for more details) and has the San Francisco Bay Area earmarked for later this year.

The grocery business in the US – which generated $568bn in retail sales last year – is a ripe market for the e-tail giant, but is not without its problems. Food e-commerce is notoriously low margin and is plagued by the volume of produce that goes out of date or gets damaged in transit. However, Amazon could outperform competitors by delivering orders for higher-margin items such as electronics at the same time.

See Amazon Launches Premium Fashion, Amazon Studios and Amazon Targets 50+ with Healthy Living Store for further examples of the e-tailer’s ongoing diversification into new retail niches.