Amazon tests two-hour Whole Foods delivery service

Amazon’s Prime Now service is offering quick grocery deliveries from Whole Foods stores in Austin Dallas Cincinnati and Virginia Beach in a trial program that Amazon hinted would be expanded

The company is adding groceries from the chain to its Prime Now high-speed delivery service in four markets - Dallas, Virginia Beach, Cincinnati, and Whole Foods' hometown of Austin.

Amazon says it plans to expand its Whole Foods delivery service to more places in the US this year. Two-hour delivery is free or shoppers can opt for the super fast one-hour delivery for $7.99 on orders of $35 or more.

This marks the first major integration between Amazon's e-commerce operations and its acquisition of Whole Foods.

Prime Now will also deliver from other grocery stores and restaurants in the markets where it operates.

The firm will offer its service to Amazon Primer users, who pay an annual subscription of US$99, later this year. AMZN also notes that select alcohols are also available for free two-hour delivery. According to e-commerce analysis firm One Click Retail, Whole Foods' 365 Everyday Value brand items are now the second most selling private label brand on Amazon. Is there anything Amazon can't deliver?

The service will be available from eight am until ten pm every day and delivered within a two-hour window.

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When Amazon purchased Whole Foods Market in August, the retailer immediately cut prices on best-selling grocery items and promised to make "high-quality, natural and organic food affordable for everyone". Amazon is now the number one online seller of groceries, accounting for 18% of total sales, a Packaged Facts report notes.

Meanwhile, competitor Acme Markets, a division of Albertsons, just instituted home delivery this year, using Instacart as its third-party delivery provider.

Those integrations are all on the brick and mortar side, so today's integration offers a different angle that could boost the Whole Foods' business.

The roll out in four cities is not to the scale of Amazon's huge logistics systems.

"They will pick the items, put them in appropriate packaging to maintain the chill chain and pack them", said Landry.

The orders will then be given off to Amazon Flex delivery operators.

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