Prime members within range of a Whole Foods have a new grocery option coming to their lives soon: Amazon has announced that it will begin delivering Whole Food groceries via its Prime Now service in select U.S. cities. Amazon also noted that the program will expand nationwide this year.
To start with, however, Whole Foods customers in Austin, Cincinnati, Dallas and Virginia Beach will be the first beneficiaries of the expansion, according to Reuters.
The new program will give Prime members the option of getting their groceries within two hours for free — or paying $7.99 to receive them within the hour. Orders must be over $35. The move is Amazon's biggest since its $13.7 billion purchase of the organic grocery in 2017 to capitalize on the physical presence Whole Foods offers.
But the rest of the market has been anticipating this move since the deal was announced, and has been preparing accordingly. Walmart, the nation's biggest seller of grocery items, Kroger (the nation's largest grocery-only chain) and Sprouts Farmers market have all moved to increase their delivery offerings in the United States. Walmart and Kroger additionally offer shoppers BOPIS capabilities, so that even customers who live outside of delivery range can enjoy a technologically-streamlined experience.
And the cost of Prime Membership — a necessary precondition for using this program — has gone up for monthly users. The $2 monthly increase is the first Prime price increase in two years.