RETAIL NEWS

Amazon unveils curbside grocery pickup at Whole Foods

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon just made a big move in the grocery deliver battle.

On Wednesday, Aug. 8, the online giant launched grocery pickup, a service that enables Prime members to pick up their order at a local Whole Foods Market store within an hour — without leaving their car. The program is currently offered in Sacramento and Virginia Beach. More cities will be added throughout 2018.

Prime members place their order via the Prime Now app and choose the pickup option at checkout. Customers use the app to alert their local store that they are on their way, and associates begin preparing the order. Upon arriving at the store, customers park in a reserved pickup spot, and a Prime Now shopper will place groceries into their car within minutes.

Customers can choose free pickup within an hour on orders of $35. A $4.99 fee applies to orders ready within 30 minutes.

“Amazon, synonymous with home delivery, is leveraging its grocery brick-and-mortar investment as it battles for a greater share of wallet,” said Sylvain Perrier, president and CEO of Mercatus, a provider digital grocery solutions.

Curbside delivery is another option Amazon is using to get groceries into shoppers’ hands faster. The online giant also offers free two-hour deliveries from Whole Foods stores in 24 cities.

The curbside service also takes a swipe at rivals Walmart and Target, as well as supermarket operators, including Kroger, Publix and H-E-B, which also offer drive-up grocery pickup options.

“Not only at Amazon and Whole Foods, but among grocery retailers in general, there’s a great deal of experimentation going on to see what sticks with consumers,” added Mercatus’ Perrier. “What’s becoming clear is there’s no one path to retaining customer loyalty. To compete today, grocers need to offer a selection of services and fulfillment options that cater to a variety of shopper preferences.”

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