Amazon's Prime service is a major pillar of its business, and when the e-commerce company acquired Whole Foods Market late in 2017, everyone knew the two services would somehow be integrated. In February, Amazon announced the latest way it would be incorporating its Prime membership and Whole Foods Market products, with two-hour delivery, and it is now expanding that service to more markets.
Amazon expanded its free two-hour delivery of products from Whole Foods Market through Prime Now to Atlanta, GA, and San Francisco, CA. Prime customers can shop for items across fresh and organic produce, bakery, dairy, meat and seafood and everyday staples. Select alcohol is also available for delivery to customers in San Francisco.
In addition to free two-hour delivery for orders over $35, customers have the option for delivery within one hour for $7.99 on orders over the same threshold. Delivery from Whole Foods through Amazon Prime is now available in six cities after initially launching last month in Austin and Dallas, Texas, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Virginia Beach, Va. Expansion to more U.S. cities is expected in 2018.
In another possible sign that the company will be expanding and reinventing its grocery delivery service, Amazon filed a patent to use robotic refrigerators at its fulfillment centers to speed up deliveries of perishable foods. The refrigerators would eliminate the need for workers to walk up and down aisles, giving them more time to pick a higher volume of orders, reported Puget Sound Business Journal (March 5).
Amazon currently has similar robots at 25 of its warehouses, but has yet to use them for perishable foods. In the patent, Amazon described its current system in which employees retrieve individual orders from stationary refrigerators tethered to power outlets by electrical cords. These new refrigerators could be powered through the robots or moved to an electrical outlet for charging.
Despite these developments, Amazon's VP of Prime Greg Greeley announced he is leaving the company after 18 years. During his time at Amazon, he held a number of senior leadership positions and is credited for helping create Amazon Prime and building Amazon’s European business, reported TechCrunch (March 6).
Recently, Greeley began shifting his focus to Whole Foods, which analysts believed suggested Amazon would make Prime a part of the Whole Foods customer rewards program. Greeley did not say what his next move will be, but said "the time has come" for him to "take on a different challenge."
Jennette has been with The Food Institute since 2013. As Marketing Director, she is responsible for promoting all Food Institute books, seminars and webinars, as well as writing and editing the Food Institute’s annual publications, such as Food Business Mergers & Acquisitions, The Food Industry Review and The Almanac of the Canning, Freezing, Preserving Industries. Additionally, she writes for and edits the daily news update, Today in Food, and contributes to the weekly Food Institute Report. She has a background in non-profit and environmental marketing, programming and writing, and graduated from Rowan University in 2012 with a degree in Communication Studies.
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