Amazon launches free, 2-hour Whole Foods deliveries in 4 cities

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SAN FRANCISCO – Amazon is introducing free, two-hour supply from Whole Foods shops to its Prime members in neighborhoods of Austin, Cincinnati, Dallas and Virginia Beach, Va. starting Thursday.

Amazon Prime prospects in these cities will have the ability to order recent produce, meat, seafood, flowers and most, however not all, objects that their native Whole Foods shops inventory, mentioned Stephenie Landry, vice chairman of Prime Now, Amazon Fresh and Amazon Restaurants.

“We won’t have each final merchandise that could possibly be accessible in your native retailer however we’re going to have the overwhelming majority of them,” she mentioned.

Prime members in these cities can to go their accounts on the Amazon web site or by way of its Prime Now app, which options two-hour supply objects, and kind of their ZIP code to see if the service is out there the place they stay.

The announcement is the most recent in Amazon’s integration of the Whole Foods Market chain of excessive finish natural supermarkets, which it purchased in June for $13.7 billion. The buy immediately made it the fifth-largest grocery retailer within the nation, in accordance with analysts at Cowen. Walmart is No. 1, adopted by Kroger, Costco and Albertsons.

The initially small foray into similar day supply is simply the starting of what Moody’s lead retail analyst Charlie O’Shea calls “unlocking” of the true worth of the Whole Foods acquisition.

“In buying Whole Foods, Amazon gained a sorely-needed brick-and-mortar companion with which to scale its meals enterprise and, offered the restricted effort introduced as we speak is profitable, we count on the complete Whole Foods community to ramp up for supply in the end as properly,” he mentioned. 

Amazon lowered costs on some objects on the 457 Whole Foods shops within the United States after the deal closed. Whole Food’s 365 Everyday Value model objects at the moment are the No. 2 best-selling personal label model on Amazon, in accordance with e-commerce evaluation agency One Click Retail. It estimates as of January, Amazon had 18% of on-line grocery gross sales within the United States.  

Whole Foods shops have had hassle with empty cabinets of late, an issue associated to an stock administration system launched earlier than the acquisition.  

The four-city roll out shouldn’t be fairly on the dimensions of Amazon’s large logistics techniques. Unlike common Amazon orders, stuffed by Amazon staff at huge, purpose-built Amazon success facilities, the Whole Foods orders might be stuffed by pickers who will truly go down the aisles of close by Whole Food shops.

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“They will decide the objects, put them in applicable packaging to keep up the chilliness chain and pack them,” mentioned Landry.

Those pickers won’t essentially be Whole Foods staffers. “We will use a wide range of strategies,” was all Landry would say.

The orders will then be handed off to Amazon Flex supply drivers. These are Uber-like contract drivers who signal on for particular person Amazon supply shifts utilizing their very own vehicles however Amazon’s routing app. They ship objects for Amazon, Prime Now, grocery supply service AmazonFresh, Amazon Restaurants and now Whole Foods.

The service will solely be accessible in the course of the hours the Whole Foods shops are open, typically eight:00 am to 10:00 pm.

Amazon plans to supply the service extra broadly sooner or later.

“We’re going to have an enormous enlargement forward,” mentioned Landry.

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