Amazon Prime members in the United States now get another benefit through their subscription – delivery of groceries from Whole Foods, straight to their doorstep. While limited to four regions at this point – Austin, Cincinnati, Dallas, and Virginia Beach – the offering marks a significant step forward in the online retailer’s integration with Whole Foods. Amazon has also said that it plans to eventually roll the service out to all its Prime customers across the US.
As part of the deal, Prime Now customers get free two-hour delivery of their shopping after spending more than $35. An “ultra-fast” one-hour delivery option costs $7.99, again on purchases of $35 and above. The service is available daily between 8 AM and 10 PM, giving customers access to a wide variety of fresh and organic produce, bakery and dairy items, meat, and seafood.
Amazon announced that it was acquiring Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market Inc. in June 2017 for $13.7 billion, and the deal was approved and closed in August. A slew of integration measures followed soon after, including steep discounts at Whole Foods retail stores for Prime members and the setting up of gadget shops at the stores to reach out to customers around the Christmas period.
However, all these integrations focused on Whole Foods’ brick-and-mortar stores, making the new delivery integration a first and unique offering to push up sales of Whole Foods products. The integration also incentivizes Prime further, as Amazon pushes heavily for users to take up the annual subscription service which includes discounts on the online store as well as music and video streaming services.
The announcement also coincides with the release of Whole Foods’ first advertising campaign since its acquisition of Amazon. The company has faced dwindling customer numbers in recent times, and a common perception that its products are too expensive. The new television and digital advertising campaigns are aimed at making diverse groups of shoppers feel at home at Whole Foods stores while also highlighting the variety of products available. It will be interesting to see how the sales generated by this ad campaign feed into the increased volume of sales generated by customers now ordering Whole Foods groceries through Amazon Prime.