Amazon Starts Selling Groceries in Canada – but Will Consumers Bite?

Amazon is making another play for marketshare in Canada.

On Thursday, the American ecommerce giant began selling grocery and automotive products on its Canadian site.

While Amazon has begun experimenting with fresh products in two American markets, their Canadian grocery offerings will be limited to non-perishable foods like cereal, chips, candy and coffee.

“ dramatically increased our selection this year, and we are pleased to now bring the auto and grocery stores to our customers,” said Alexandre Gagnon, country manager for in a statement.

The company says that over 15,000 dry food products are now available on the site.

As for its new automotive section, the company says it’s offering over 200,000 products including jump starters, seat covers, windshield wiper blades and tools. And as with its other products, the company offerings free shipping on orders over $25, with some exceptions, and free two-day shipping to members of its Amazon Prime service, which has annual membership fee of $79.

The free shipping could give the company an advantage over the handful of existing online grocery delivery services in Canada, most of which have minimum orders and charge delivery fees.

Few of Canada’s largest grocery stores even offer online ordering. Large chains like Metro, Loblaws and Sobeys don’t, although IGA stores in Quebec, which are owned by Sobeys, do offer online ordering.

Despite the minimum orders, usually around $40, and delivery fees, local online grocery delivery services do have one advantage over Amazon: they can deliver perishable foods and generally offer same-day service.

Amazon’s new offerings will also compete against WalMart, which has been adding food items to its Canadian ecommerce site, though Amazon has a much wider selection.

Amazon says its Canadian grocery section is in “beta” and it’s clear that some work might be required. A search for “cereal” turns up not only the standard Canadian brands but also wide variety of products that only available in other countries.

There’s also the question of whether Canadian consumers will take to buying groceries online. Online shopping hasn’t grown as fast in Canada as it has in the United States with less than six per cent of all retail sales made online, compared with eight per cent south of the border.