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Whole Foods offers Amazon's Prime Now in Raleigh, N.C., and 47 other cities.

Whole Foods, Amazon steam ahead with Prime Now

Online grocery delivery expanded to 10 more markets

Whole Foods Market has begun offering same-day grocery delivery through Amazon’s Prime Now service in another 10 cities.

The companies said Wednesday that Whole Foods stores in Detroit and Ann Arbor, Mich.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Milwaukee and Madison, Wis.; Omaha, Neb.; Orlando and Tampa, Fla.; St. Louis; and Tulsa, Okla., are now offering Amazon Prime members home delivery in as soon as an hour via Prime Now.

Now available in 48 cities, Prime Now was rolled out to Whole Foods stores in more areas of New York City and Seattle as well. The latest expansion followed a 10-city launch two weeks ago in Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C.; Las Vegas; Memphis and Nashville, Tenn.; New Orleans; Oklahoma City; Phoenix; Seattle; and Tucson, Ariz.

Today also marks the first expansion for Prime Now grocery pickup. Prime members can now pickup online orders at Whole Foods stores in Fort Worth, Texas; Kennesaw, Ga.; and Richmond, Va. The program made its debut early last month in Sacramento, Calif., and Virginia Beach, Va.

“Prime Now delivery continues to be a hit with our customers, and we’re excited to introduce the service in 10 new cities plus more neighborhoods in New York and Seattle,” Christina Minardi, executive vice president of operations at Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods, said in a statement. “And for our customers in Fort Worth, Kennesaw and Richmond, we’re thrilled to also offer the option of grocery pickup. It’s just another way we’re making it even easier for more customers to enjoy Whole Foods Market’s healthy and organic food.”

Through the Prime Now app or online, Prime members can shop thousands of items in such categories as fresh and organic produce, bakery, dairy, meat, seafood, floral and daily essentials and have them delivered directly to their door or pick them up at a Whole Foods store. Select alcohol products also are available for delivery or pickup in Jacksonville, New York, Omaha, Orlando, Seattle, St. Louis and Tampa, the companies said.

Two-hour delivery is free on orders of $35 or more for Prime members, while one-hour delivery costs $7.99. Grocery pickup in an hour is free for members on orders of at least $35 but carries a $4.99 for orders to be ready in 30 minutes. Customers park in a designated pickup spot, and a Prime Now personal shopper puts the groceries into their car.

Seattle-based Amazon, which closed its acquisition of Whole Foods in August 2017, launched Prime Now delivery at the supermarket chain in February and has steadily rolled it out to more large markets.

In a survey released last month, Sense360 — which tracks consumer behavior through mobile tech users — noted that Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods brought it not just a bigger brick-and-mortar presence but also greater access to its best customers.

Whole Foods shoppers are 25% more likely to use Amazon than the “average” person and 50% more likely to be a Prime member, according to Sense360’s “The Impact of Amazon Prime on Whole Foods” study. Amazon Prime members, too, are 27% more likely to visit Whole Foods than non-Amazon customers.

Although Amazon began offering price breaks on select items at Whole Foods stores soon after the acquisition, the availability of Prime discounts at all of the chain’s stores in late June brought member benefits into the spotlight. The Sense360 survey found that 81% of Prime members who haven’t taken advantage of a Whole Foods discount said they would consider doing so.

“As Amazon rolls this out, we can expect to see visits to Whole Foods by Amazon Prime members increase,” Eli Portnoy, CEO of Los Angeles-based Sense360, said in the report.

In addition, 33% of all consumers plan to shop more at Whole Foods, and 50% of Prime members indicated that they plan to increase their visits, the study revealed.

“It’s a competitive advantage that is going to be very, very hard for a pure-play grocer to compete with,” Portnoy added.

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