Amazon has Quietly Launched its Answer to Seamless and GrubHub

Back in June, Amazon was preparing to take on companies like Seamless, Grubhub and DeliveryHero with a restaurant takeout and delivery service that would sit within its Amazon Local app and website. Now that service is live.

The Takeout & Delivery feature was quietly turned on over last weekend — when many were probably still working their way through Thanksgiving leftovers. “The holidays are busy. We can help,” the company notes in the app.

It looks like for now it’s only live in Seattle, covering around 20 restaurants for delivery and around 110 for takeout orders that you pick up yourself. As with other Amazon services, Takeout & Delivery lets you charge everything to your existing Amazon account.

Amazon has a bigger ambition to build out its local commerce services into a larger, physical extension of what it has built online. This includes what Reuters has described as local services marketplace that would rival Yelp, Thumbtack and Angie’s List.

Some of Amazon’s local merchant business has already launched by way of Amazon Fresh, where the company has gone beyond grocery delivery to a new “Spotlight” service —  a selection of items from a variety of businesses, from ready-to-cook meals from restaurants through to other “local favorites” on the food front like cupcakes, teas and speciality ingredients.

It has also, of course, launched its point-of-sale service, Amazon Local Register, which competes against the likes of Square and PayPal with a point-of-sale app and card-reading hardware.

The idea is for Amazon to converge these services, similar to what it has done for consumers, as well as expanding them to many more markets, building on its basic principle of economies of scale.

So, for example, just as Amazon lets people order takeout food and charge it to their Amazon accounts, Amazon will use its connections with the restaurants and other merchants that are part of its delivery network to upsell them as customers to its Local Register product.

As a source told us when we first reported that Amazon was working on takeout and delivery, “Restaurants and the register product are the start. They’ll be going live with other verticals, and deeper features in the coming months.”

Which vertical might come next? As we noted in June, it looks like it might be travel. Skift reported last month that the e-commerce behemoth would be launching a new travel portal called Amazon Travel, likely to go live around January 1. It will focus first on hotel bookings before expanding to other services like flights. But as you might have clocked in the picture above, there is already a tab for searching for and booking hotel deals when you have Amazon Local set to Seattle as your home town.

Author: Ingrid Lunden

Source: TechCrunch