Friday, February 9, 2018

Amazon-Whole Foods Partnership to Offer Two-Hour Grocery Delivery

Many people strongly prefer to go to a brick-and-mortar grocery store and pick out their foods themselves. Often, they have preferences on the level of ripeness they're looking for. Others worry that anything picked out by someone else may be dented or bruised or otherwise rendered unusable. On the other hand, there are many shoppers, especially of younger, more tech-savvy generation, who would prefer the efficiency and time-saving of ordering groceries online. Well, according to a recent L.A. Times article, the Amazon-Whole Foods partnership may make that a commonplace reality for the latter demographic.

This year, Amazon is planning to add two-hour Whole Foods grocery deliveries as another benefit for Prime customers. While some Prime customers have already experienced similar benefits through Amazon Fresh, this is different in that Prime customers only have to pay $99 per year versus the $299 per year cost of Amazon Fresh. Additionally, the Whole Foods service delivers within two hours, while Amazon Fresh deliveries often have to be scheduled for the next day. However, the Whole Foods Prime option will likely have a much more limited selection than that offered on Amazon Fresh, so there is a trade-off involved.

Many potential shoppers consider Whole Food's groceries to be of high quality and therefore doubt that they will have any problems with the service, even though they aren't picking out and handling the foods themselves. Others, who have their doubts about smashed cookies or bruised fruit would prefer to shop online, then pick up in the store, thereby saving some time while still ensuring better quality. Currently, about 7% of households in the United States purchase groceries online, with most of those opting to have the groceries shipped. This new deal through Amazon Prime may drive those numbers even higher.

Amazon isn't the only company looking into the only grocery-shopping business. WalMart has developed a system whereby shoppers can order groceries ahead of time and just come into the store to pick them up. Kroger, the company that owns some grocery stores, including Ralph's and Smith's, has offered in-store pickup and is testing out delivery options. Target recently bought grocery-delivery company Shipt, and Whole Foods has even been delivering products through a company called Instacart. Amazon Prime's move is just increasing the prevalence, and will likely lead to a greater number of people ordering groceries from home.

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