Now, the grocery world will get a first-hand look at Amazon's strategy, with two-hour delivery available through its Prime Now service in Dallas and Austin, Texas; Virginia Beach, Virginia; and Cincinnati, Ohio. One- and two-hour delivery is blazingly quick for grocery delivery, which may convince consumers to give Whole Foods through Prime Now a shot.
"We might not have every last item that could be available in your local store but we're going to have the vast majority of them", she said. But the addition of most Whole Foods products to the Prime Now service makes this a significant change.
"This announcement further supports the idea that this brick-and-mortar network of Whole Foods stores is not only a great way to deliver fresh food, but by using Prime Now, could also serve as a distribution center for other common Prime Now products", said Greg Ng, VP of digital engagement, PointSource, a Globant company."One of the most exciting things is the potential of adding the Alexa-enabled appliances to the mix, as well as Amazon Key".
The online retailing giant plans to roll out two-hour delivery at the organic grocer this year to those who pay for Amazon's $99-a-year Prime membership.
The initially small foray into same day delivery is just the beginning of what Moody's lead retail analyst Charlie O'Shea calls "unlocking" of the real value of the Whole Foods acquisition.
"We're happy to bring our customers the convenience of free two-hour delivery through Prime Now and access to thousands of natural and organic groceries and locally sourced favorites", said John Mackey, Whole Foods Market co-founder and CEO. It estimates as of January, Amazon had 18% of online grocery sales in the United States.
Whole Foods employees will not necessarily handle the selection process.
Now, at least in four cities, pressure will ramp up.
"They will pick the items, put them in appropriate packaging to maintain the chill chain and pack them", said Landry.
There are about 60 million households in the US that use Amazon's Prime service, and only about 22 percent of those shopped at Whole Foods in December, according to research from Cowen & Co.
Prime members receive free two-hour delivery, or they can choose ultra-fast delivery within an hour for $7.99 on orders of $35.