Starting immediately, Prime customers in neighborhoods of Austin, Cincinnati, Dallas and Virginia Beach can shop through Prime Now for bestselling items including fresh produce, high quality meat and seafood, everyday staples and other locally-sourced items from Whole Foods Market. And customers could get rewards for their participation as well.
News that Amazon.com will start offering two-hour delivery from Whole Foods stores in four USA cities has the food world buzzing that competition is about to heat up in an industry that survives on razor-thin margins. The entire store inventory is not yet online, and deliveries are only available during local store hours. Amazon's Whole Foods acquisition married the company's online expertise with the grocer's physical presence, and now Amazon is bringing the best of its fast-track delivery service to the grocery sector, by delivering products within one to two hours.
The man who ran 's Prime membership program will now be spending more of his time at Whole Foods.
A 19-year veteran at Amazon, Greeley has spent the last four years running Prime. He has also held positions in Amazon's worldwide and finance departments. "Both the established Amazon Prime and Whole Foods Market teams remain unchanged".
Prime Now is a service that's available exclusively to Prime members, and it's free for them for orders $35 and up.
Deliveries will not be on the scale of typical Amazon deliveries, where orders are filled by Amazon employees at enormous fulfillment centers. This program will have a wide selection of Whole Foods items on offer - conceivably, almost the whole store could be stuffed into a Prime Now bag.
This could be bad - and good - news for delivery services like Instacart. An employee will pick the products for a customer's order and pack them in a way that maintains their freshness.
"We are working with the team at Whole Foods Market to deliver tremendous value for Prime members at Whole Foods Market and Greg Greeley will be facilitating that effort (among other things)", an Amazon representative said in response to a CNBC request for comment about Greeley's move.
The new integration confirms what analysts had already predicted that Amazon will use Whole Foods to expand its warehousing network and add more options for Amazon customers such as Prime Now subscribers. And last week, Amazon announced that its flash-deal-dispensing Treasure Truck vans would make stops at Whole Foods locations.