Amazon Prime's Latest Perk: 2-Hour Whole Foods Deliveries

Amazon Prime's Latest Perk: 2-Hour Whole Foods Deliveries

Using Whole Foods stores to fill orders for fresh groceries is the big step that the grocery industry has been anticipating.

The new Whole Foods grocery service is made available only for users in Dallas, Virginia Beach, Austin and Cincinnati.

Greeley is the first high-profile Amazon executive known to be spending time at Whole Foods, the grocery chain Amazon bought for $13.7 billion a year ago. Why would someone pay extra for Instacart or Shipt delivery when they can get their weekly groceries delivered for free with their Prime membership? Two-hour delivery is free, whereas the one-hour delivery would cost somewhere around $7.99 on orders above $35.

As far as what shoppers can choose from, most but not all Whole Foods items will be available. Prime Now also offers delivery from local spots via Amazon Restaurants. 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 placed Lockers, secure delivery points for packages, in nearly 400 Whole Foods stores.

"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.

Amazon shook up the industry with its $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods previous year, prompting traditional grocery sellers to look for ways to profitably deliver fresh food and shelf-stable pantry items. Amazon hasn't disclosed the number of Prime members, but market research firm CIRP estimates it to be over 90 million in the USA alone.

And one in four of us now buy groceries online, versus less than one in five (19%) in 2014 - proof that this trend has been catching on for sometime. This the company's first major integration between its acquisition of Whole Foods and its e-commerce operations.

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

Once the orders are picked, they will be packaged accordingly and then will be handed to the Amazon Flex delivery drivers.