Amazon posted a job listing for a Program Manager for Amazon Fresh Quality Control in North America today. In and of itself, that’s hardly news, but the location of the position indicates that something big is afoot. Instead of being based in Seattle or near Los Angeles, the position will operate out of a warehouse in Tracy, Calif., which is a little more than 60 miles east of San Francisco.
While Amazon hasn’t announced any plans to move its grocery delivery service into the Bay Area just yet, it’s a logical market for an expansion: it’s an area on the West Coast with a large, tech-savvy population and high median income that could support Amazon’s services.
The Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog was first to spot the job post.
The geographic location of Amazon’s warehouse is also quite interesting. Running operations out of Tracy would allow Amazon to more easily reach parts of the Bay Area that are farther east than its competitors currently serve. Going bigger than its competitors could be a major competitive advantage for Amazon, which would be going up against Google, Safeway, Instacart, and Wal-Mart, which all offer grocery delivery to parts of the Bay, but most don’t reach all the way out to Pleasanton (home to backup giant EMC Corporation) or Livermore (home to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory).
There’s no hint about what service in the Bay Area might cost, though Amazon started offering a “Prime Fresh” membership in L.A. that runs $299 for a year of free same-day grocery delivery along with a standard Amazon Prime membership.
If Amazon does open up service here, it will put the squeeze on Instacart, which recently lost its ability to deliver food from Trader Joe’s, one of its key competitive advantages.
Blair Hanley Frank is a technology journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has also worked for Macworld, PCWorld and TechHive. He can be found on Twitter @belril.