Since Amazon bought Whole Foods last year for 13.7 billion, we've seen the online retailer dish out discounts and outfit many Whole Foods locations with Echo devices for you to buy along with your free-range chicken. Now, Amazon is integrating Whole Foods into its Prime Now delivery service, allowing Prime customers to order select Whole Foods items and get them delivered within two hours.
However, this new endeavor isn't a sweeping change yet—Prime Now delivery for Whole Foods orders is only now available in some Austin, Dallas, Virginia Beach, and Cincinnati neighborhoods. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Amazon plans to expand the service to other markets, but it's unclear how long the expansion will take.
Customers can search through the Whole Foods section of the Prime Now website online or on Amazon's mobile apps to select items to order. Fresh produce, meat, seafood, and some alcohol will be available, but not all Whole Foods items are eligible for quick delivery. Two-hour delivery is free for all Prime members with orders of $35 or more, and customers can pay an extra $7.99 to have their items delivered within one hour.
Not only does this new integration further blur the line between Whole Foods and Amazon's own grocery service, Amazon Fresh, but it gives Whole Foods customers another way to order food online and get it delivered quickly. Whole Foods still has its own delivery system that services local areas around its store locations, but Amazon could fold that service into its own in the future.
Prime Now currently serves more than 50 global markets, and Amazon could expand the grocery delivery portion of Prime Now more quickly than before through Whole Foods' stores. Amazon has been trying to accelerate its grocery delivery efforts for a long time, not backing down even amidst setbacks like its Amazon Fresh service shuttering in a few neighborhoods across five states. The collection of Whole Foods stores is important for Amazon's goal of becoming an even more serious competitor in the grocery market.
In addition to the expansion of the Prime Now/Whole Foods collaboration, Amazon plans to introduce more Whole Foods benefits to Prime members. So far we've only seen Amazon extend special discounts to Prime members, but the full roll-out of rewards has yet to be completed.