Amazon and Whole Foods Market are introducing free two-hour delivery of groceries from Whole Foods Market to customers with an Amazon Prime membership in Austin, Cincinnati, Dallas and Virginia Beach.
The new deal went into effect on Thursday. So as the "Amazonification" of Whole Foods continued after last year's buyout, the question wasn't if Amazon would offer Whole Foods delivery, but when. Amazon says the service will be nationwide this year.
The announcement is the latest in Amazon's integration of the Whole Foods Market chain of high-end organic supermarkets, which it agreed to buy in June for $13.7 billion.
The company started its reframing by pulling out an old supply chain practice called "order-to-shelf" where stores keep little to nothing on hand and depend on suppliers and distributors to bring in the requested items in small batches.
"Whole Foods' strength has always been in the fresh foods", Cerankosky said. One-hour delivery costs $7.99 on top of orders of $35 or more. For reference, Amazon acquired Whole Foods for almost $14 billion in 2017. All purchases must add up to $35 or more and the service will be available daily between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. So delivering Whole Foods makes sense since the majority of the infrastructure is already in place.
Online-to-home grocery delivery is nothing new.
The online retail giant, which acquired the grocery chain past year for $13.7 billion, just launched the new Prime perk, which is now only available in the four aforementioned locations.
Walmart, the country's largest grocer, is making it easier for customers to order groceries online and pick them up at the store. The service offers products from high end brands like Acme Bread and Cowgirl Creamery as well, and touts 30-minute delivery compared to most other competitors' two hour window. It also plans to install Amazon Lockers at Whole Foods locations.
Flex drivers are Uber-like contract employees who sign on for delivery shifts using their own vehicles, according to USA Today.