Amazon has introduced two-hour free delivery from Whole Foods Market to members of Prime in Austin, Texas, Cincinnati, Ohio, Dallas, Texas and Virginia Beach, Virginia. The service started on February 8.
Prime customers in the four cities can order fresh seafood, meat, produce, flowers and the majority of, but not all, items that the local Whole Foods Market stocks, said a spokesperson for Prime Now.
The spokesperson added that not every single item would likely me available at certain stores but the overwhelming majority of them will be.
Members of the Prime club on Amazon in the four cities can open their accounts on the Amazon site or through the app Prime Now, which features items available for two-hour delivery. The can then type in the zip code they are in to see if the Whole Foods service is available in their area.
The announcement is just the latest in the integration by Amazon of the grocery store chain that is known for its high end organic products that Amazon purchases for $13.7 billion in June of last year.
Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods Markets made it the country’s fifth-largest grocery chain, according to an online research firm. The No. 1 grocery retailer is Walmart with Kroger, Costco, Albertsons and now Amazon rounding out the top five.
Amazon lowered its prices on certain items at its 457 Whole Foods Markets locations in the U.S. following the closing of the deal last summer. The 365 Everyday Value items at Whole Foods are now the second leading private label brand for Amazon.
It is estimated that Amazon now holds over 18% of the market share for online sales of groceries in the U.S.
The roll out in four cities is not to the scale of Amazon’s huge logistics systems. The orders from Whole Foods, unlike regular orders at Amazon that are filled by employees at huge, fulfillment centers that are only devoted to order filling, will have pickers fill the order by going down each aisle in a Whole Foods location close to where the order originated.
Once the orders are picked, they will be packaged accordingly and then will be handed to the Amazon Flex delivery drivers. They are contract drivers, similar to Uber, who sign on for specific delivery shifts at Amazon using their own vehicles, but the routing app of Amazon.
They deliver for Amazon, Amazon Fresh the grocery delivery service, Prime Now, Amazon Restaurants as well as Whole Foods starting today.