February 19, 2019

Amazon is testing a 2-hour grocery-delivery service from Whole Foods

10 February 2018, 04:33 | Joann Bryant

AP Mark Lennihan

Whole Foods

- Amazon is bringing its speedy delivery to Whole Foods. That enables shoppers to get much of what they can usually buy at a Whole Foods store delivered directly to their door in two hours.

The online retailing giant plans to roll out two-hour delivery at the organic grocer this year to those who pay for Amazon's $99-a-year Prime membership.

Yesterday, the tech giant-grocery store duo announced Prime members are now eligible for free two-hour deliveries on orders over $35 from Whole Foods.

"Nearly every chain that plans on being in business in five years is moving to delivery", said David Livingston, a supermarket analyst for DJL Research.

The announcement gives Amazon yet another way to get groceries to customer's doorsteps. The opportunity is enormous: to make the same waves it made in books and electronics, it would have to persuade millions of customers to start ordering their groceries online.

You can expect most (but not all) of the items you'd find in an actual Whole Foods store, including booze.

Others have partnered with Instacart.

One of the biggest things holding back online grocery is the option of free delivery and the speed. This program will have a wide selection of Whole Foods items on offer - conceivably, almost the whole store could be stuffed into a Prime Now bag. And Prime Now delivers groceries from its facilities, but it has also offered grocery delivery from other physical stores, including Whole Foods rival Sprouts Farmers Market.

Members can use the app or the website to shop the "vast majority" of Whole Foods stores online.

This Whole Foods delivery test is not on the scale of typical Amazon deliveries. Walmart, the country's largest grocer, has aggressively expanded its buy-online-pick-up-in-store option throughout the country and is eyeing same-day deliveries in NY.

Those pickers will not necessarily be Whole Foods staffers.

Picking from the store can be "challenging", and not to Amazon's usual designed-down-to-the-movement standards, "but most grocers are doing that for click and collect anyway, so it's becoming more industry standard", said Kodali. These are Uber-like contract drivers who sign on for individual Amazon delivery shifts using their own cars but Amazon's routing app.

Amazon plans to offer the service more broadly in the future. Data shows that Whole Foods' brand is one of Amazon's strongest weapons as it tries to take a bigger piece of the grocery pie.

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