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'AmazonFresh Pickup' stores reportedly coming to Seattle

Permit applications may offer a glimpse at a possible new brick and mortar grocery pickup concept from Amazon.

These permit applications might be our first look at an Amazon grocery-pickup retail outlet.
Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections / GeekWire

Amazon may be working on a new retail concept that will let customers swing by to pick up online grocery orders.

Sifting through permit documents from the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections, tech site GeekWire reports to have come across a planned concept for "AmazonFresh Pickup" retail locations in Seattle's Ballard and SoDo neighborhoods.

The permit filings reportedly include proposed retail signage with telling phrases like "Shop online. Pick up here," and "Relax while we load your groceries for you." GeekWire also said it spotted a film crew at the SoDo location, potentially there to film a promotional video for the concept.

Amazon didn't respond to a request for comment.

AmazonFresh is the online retailer's spin on grocery shopping, providing fresh fruit, ice cream and other foods for home delivery for an annual membership fee of $299. The service is available in a handful of cities, including Seattle, San Francisco, New York, Boston and London.

Physical "pickup" locations could be another way to lure customers to Fresh, but there's reason for skepticism that this reported concept is anything more than a test run for now. Amazon has tip-toed into the brick-and-mortar realm with a handful of physical bookstores and a concept store called Amazon Go that does away with the checkout process. But stores take a lot of money and time -- like years -- to develop. After focusing on e-commerce for 20 years, Amazon is unlikely to rush into the physical retail world.