The e-commerce giant on Wednesday launched a free, one-hour grocery pickup for Prime members at all 487 Whole Foods stores in the United States. To qualify for the one-hour pickup, grocery orders must total $35 or more.
“While COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of online grocery services and prompted new customers to try services like grocery pickup, it’s clear that this offering will become a more permanent solution for many customers,” Amazon said in a blog post.
Before the announcement, Prime members could pick up Whole Foods orders only at select stores.
Amazon, which purchased Whole Foods for $13.7 billion in June 2017, started expanding pickup options at its grocery stores in April, which was the height of the coronavirus pandemic. The company first offered curbside pickup at select Whole Foods stores in 2018.
By offering this extra perk to Prime subscribers who pay $119 annually, Amazon is hoping this shopping habit will carry over long after the pandemic.
According to the company, more than 40 percent of Whole Foods pickup orders each month are from customers trying out the service for the first time. And figures from Global Data Research have revealed that nearly 70 percent of consumers say they will continue to use curbside pickup service even after the pandemic ends.
In addition to grocery pickup, Prime members in more than two thousand cities and towns can receive unlimited free, two-hour delivery on items from Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods on orders of $35 or more.
In recent years, both Walmart and Target have aggressively expanded curbside pickup services. Walmart has taken it a step further with the recently launched Walmart+, costing $98 a year or $12.95 a month, and includes a fifteen-day free trial period. The service offers unlimited free delivery from stores, fuel discounts, and access to tools that make shopping faster for families.
In July, Amazon announced that it was launching high-tech shopping carts—called Dash Cart—that track grocery items as shoppers add them, then automatically charges them when they remove the grocery bags located in the carts, allowing them to skip the checkout line.
In order to use these carts, shoppers must have an Amazon account and a smartphone. After entering the store, users scan a QR code within Amazon’s app that signs them into the cart, which is equipped with cameras and sensors that can identify grocery items as they’re placed into the bags inside the cart.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.