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Amazon, the e-commerce giant, is altering its grocery delivery model in a bid to stay competitive in the rapidly evolving online grocery landscape. The company’s revised strategy for its grocery service, Amazon Fresh, could prove to be a significant turning point in the industry.
A Shift Towards Inclusivity
Amazon has announced changes to its grocery delivery service, Amazon Fresh, aiming to make it more competitive with rivals like Instacart, Walmart, Target-owned Shipt, and DoorDash. The most significant alteration? Customers no longer need an Amazon Prime membership to order groceries for delivery or free pickup from Amazon Fresh.
This move allows non-Prime members to avail themselves of Amazon Fresh’s services, giving the company a broader customer base. It is expected to roll out in locations across the U.S., where Amazon Fresh is offered, and soon, a similar option will be made available to Whole Foods shoppers.
Expanded Service and Delivery Options
According to the company, once this expansion phase is completed, customers in more than 3,500 U.S. cities and towns will have the option of ordering two-hour grocery delivery from either Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods Market, depending on availability.
In addition to this, Amazon shoppers can now order from local grocers and specialty shops through the Amazon website. These include stores like Bristol Farms, Cardenas Markets, Pet Food Express, Weis Markets, and Save Mart.
Pricing and Discounts
While Amazon Fresh is not a free service, even for Prime members, Amazon’s membership program will offer several discounts. For example, Fresh orders over $100 will still be free if you have a Prime membership, and won’t include a delivery fee. Meanwhile, two-hour deliveries will include a service fee of $6.95 for orders ranging from $50-$100, and $9.95 for deliveries under $50, for Prime members.
Non-members will be charged between $7.95-$13.95 depending on their basket size and the delivery window selected. Flexible orders with delivery times of up to six hours may also receive a fee reduction, while rushed orders may include additional fees.
Grocery Pickup and More
For grocery pickup with Amazon Fresh, the company offers stores in California, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Washington State. Some of these stores will also offer Amazon’s cashierless payment option, Just Walk Out where customers pay with a palm reader.
Both Amazon Fresh stores and Whole Foods Market locations can also be used for package pickup and return for Amazon.com orders, and those using this service in Fresh stores will receive coupons to use in-store.
The Bigger Picture: Amazon’s Grocery Market Position
This significant move of broadening Amazon’s grocery reach is indicative of how far Amazon has fallen behind in the broader online grocery market. Operating different grocery brands has led to consumer confusion — particularly in markets where both services are available with their own unique product selections.