The feature has a new benefit for Prime members, who pay $ 119 per year for free shipping and access to other services like Prime Video and Music, as well as free Amazon Fresh grocery deliveries. Prior to Wednesday’s announcement, Prime members could only pick up Whole Foods orders at select stores.
Amazon began increasing pickup options at Whole Foods stores in April during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, expanding service to more than 150 stores, from around 80 locations.
Amazon started offering street pickup at select Whole Foods stores in 2018.
Curb pickup on the rise
Options for buying goods online and picking them up in person, such as curbside pickup and in-store pickup, have gained traction during the coronavirus crisis, along with an overall rise in online grocery services. Buyers are increasingly turning to these services when looking for ways to reduce their time spent in the store.
However, these services were on the rise long before the pandemic. As Amazon focused more on delivering groceries, rivals Walmart and Target have intensively expanded curbside pickup in recent years. Now it has effectively become a tabletop issue for retailers, said Steve Caine, retail expert and partner at Bain & Co. The service gives customers more flexible pickup windows and is more cost effective for customers. retailers because they no longer have to deal with costly last mile delivery processes.
“Amazon is late in the game,” Caine said. “They’re really trying to catch up with those here who’ve been in this for a while. ”
Whole Foods, which Amazon bought in 2017, has a smaller national footprint and doesn’t deliver the same amount of density to a local market as a local grocer or traditional big box retailer like Walmart, Caine said. While Whole Foods has fewer than 500 stores in the United States, Walmart has at least 4,700 stores.
By offering curbside pickup as a perk for Prime subscribers, Amazon is betting that interest will continue long after the pandemic. Early signs indicate that it could, with around 68% of U.S. shoppers stating that they plan to make more use of curbside pickup services in stores in the future, according to a recent study by GlobalData Retail.
“As Covid-19 has accelerated the adoption of online grocery services and prompted new customers to try services like grocery pickup, it is clear that this offering will become a more permanent solution for many. customers, ”Amazon said in Wednesday’s blog post.