"What you are talking about here is the re-engineering of a very mature industry," said Bud Grebey, spokesman for Foster City, Calif.-based WebVan. "These partnerships are just validating the assertion that customers will shop for items like groceries online."
Gartner Group analyst Geri Spieler said that not all retailers need an Internet channel, but grocery stores need both an online and a retail presence.
"A tomato isn't a sweater or a book," Spieler said. "A grocery is only going to survive with a strong brick-and-mortar model, because it's local. It is very difficult to fulfill an order with a robot when you are talking about a tomato."
Source: Gartner Group