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Amazon Prime Now will start delivering most Whole Foods products (AMZN)

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Whole Foods products including produce, seafood, and the majority of items sold in Whole Foods' stores will now be available through Amazon’s Prime Now service in certain markets, according to USA Today.

The trial is starting immediately in Austin, Cincinnati, Dallas, and Virginia Beach, with plans to expand it significantly going forward. Prime Now has previously been used to deliver Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday Value private-label items, and Amazon sold an estimated $10 million worth of the private label’s products in its first four months on its site. But the addition of most Whole Foods products to the Prime Now service makes this a significant change.

  • Prime Now will offer one- and two-hour delivery of most Whole Foods products.Consumers with Prime accounts will be able to take advantage of the service during Whole Foods’ operating hours, which are generally 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Customers will receive free two-hour delivery on orders of $35 or more, or they can pay a shipping charge of $7.99 to receive the items in an hour.
  • Whole Foods employees will not necessarily handle the selection process. An employee will pick the products for a customer’s order and pack them in a way that maintains their freshness. However, Amazon will use a variety of methods to pick products, Stephanie Landry, VP of Prime Now, Amazon Fresh, and Amazon Restaurants, told USA Today, which suggests that Whole Foods employees will not always be involved in the process. This is an incredibly important process for Amazon and Whole Foods to iron out, as consumers' leading reason for not using online grocery is that they want to pick their items themselves. Amazon and Whole Foods will have to find a way to make consumers trust the people picking their groceries, and they'll have to be transparent about their process for that to happen.

The speed that Prime Now provides could give Amazon a leg up in online grocery delivery. One- and two-hour delivery is blazingly quick for grocery delivery, which may convince consumers to give Whole Foods through Prime Now a shot. Twenty-three percent of consumers said they would purchase more groceries online if delivery times were more convenient, according to data from Walker Sands sent to Business Insider Intelligence, and one or two hours certainly fits the bill. Instacart, one of the leaders in online grocery delivery, offers same-day delivery, but one- and two-hour delivery from Amazon requires less planning ahead from consumers. Combined with Whole Foods’ appeal, that may be enough to get consumers to choose Prime Now for grocery delivery.

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