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Amazon said today that it will begin offering grocery pickup from select Whole Foods stores in the Sacramento and Virginia beach markets, with plans to expand elsewhere in the US this year.

According to the announcement, Amazon Prime members “Prime members can now shop Whole Foods Market’s selection of fresh and organic produce, bakery, dairy, meat and seafood, floral and everyday staples and pick up their order in as little as 30 minutes, all without leaving their car … Prime members place their order via the Prime Now app and choose the pickup option at checkout. Customers can choose free pickup in as little as an hour on orders of $35, or in 30 minutes for $4.99. After arriving at the Whole Foods Market store, customers park in a reserved pickup spot and a Prime Now shopper will place groceries into their car within minutes. For customers who tell us they are on their way in the Prime Now app, groceries will be ready as they arrive.”

This offering is in addition to a service allowing Prime members in dozens of cities to get grocery delivery from Whole Foods.

The announcement notes that “customers can also find out if these services are available in their area by saying, ‘Alexa, shop Whole Foods Market’.”

In its analysis, the Wall Street Journal writes that “about 15% of digital food and beverage sales go to online grocery pickup, according to ratings firm Nielsen. Bulky items like beer, wine, frozen meat and cheese are the most frequently purchased, Nielsen found. ‘Click and collect’ customers tend to be less affluent than those who use online-only grocery services, Nielsen said.”

Amazon, the Journal reports, is promising that “its service will be faster than those of its competitors.”
KC's View:
All of this has been utterly predictable from the moment that Amazon announced it was acquiring Whole Foods, and yet announcements like these remind us of exactly how ambitious Amazon is as it integrates Whole Foods into its ecosystem. And, perhaps more importantly, Amazon continues to add value to Prime membership.

What was it Jeff Bezos said about Prime? It was something about wanting to make it so attractive, useful and relevant that it would be almost irresponsible not to be a member.

It is a pretty good bet that however fast analysts expect this service to be rolled out nationwide, it is going to happen faster. I suspect there will be challenges, especially when it comes to fresh foods … but the folks at Whole Foods are likely to be better at picking them than the folks at Amazon Fresh … which, I think, will gradually be merged with all these Whole Foods offerings.