Whole Foods Orders Drop After New Delivery Fee, Report Says

Whole Foods customers have voted against the company’s new $9.95 delivery fee, a report says.

The company, owned by Amazon, used to offer free delivery to Amazon Prime customers. But recently the fee has led some customers to just get groceries themselves.

Because of that, there’s been a mass decline in delivery orders, with one employee saying the number of deliveries per hour had fallen from 185 to 40 since the new fee.

The company has called those reports inaccurate, with spokesman Brian McGuigan disputing those figures but declining to give more information on the number of deliveries per hour. He didn’t say whether deliveries had been affected by the new fee.

The report says there are more stores seeing downward sales trends, especially as the grocer already has the highest prices in the industry.

Delivery charges have been a point of contention for other grocers, too, with Instacart Express offering free deliveries on orders of $35 or more for customers paying a yearly fee of $100. Walmart has also offered that kind of a service for companies paying a $98 fee for Walmart+.

Whole Foods customers have been more willing to shop in person and carry their own groceries home since the fee went into effect.

The company said that it added the fee in lieu of raising the prices, which could have hurt business for foot traffic as well as delivery. But Dan Glickberg of venture capital firm Dan Glickberg Food said that it was “ultimately more important” to have free delivery as opposed to premium products.

Retail consultant Brittain Ladd, a former Amazon executive, said the company had been losing so much on delivery that it had broached a new area, in terms of adding fees for Prime members.

PYMNTS reports that Amazon has collaborated with U.K. grocery chain Sainsbury’s to offer checkout-free shopping. The report says Sainsbury’s will be the first to offer the Just Walk Out technology, allowing customers to make use of phone apps and QR codes to allow for quicker shopping without having to go through checkouts.

See more: Amazon Invites Sainsbury Shoppers to ‘Just Walk Out’