Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Free Whole Foods delivery beings for Virginia Beach Amazon Prime members

Free Whole Foods delivery beings for Virginia Beach Amazon Prime members

The announcement is the latest in Amazon's integration of the Whole Foods Market chain of high-end organic supermarkets, which it agreed to buy in June for $13.7 billion.

"One of the biggest things holding back online grocery is the option of free delivery and the speed", Waral said.

Whole Foods Market in Virginia Beach is now offering Amazon Now free 2-hour grocery delivery service on orders of $35 or more.

"Nearly every chain that plans on being in business in five years is moving to delivery", said David Livingston, a supermarket analyst for DJL Research. The opportunity is enormous: to make the same waves it made in books and electronics, it would have to persuade millions of customers to start ordering their groceries online.

The grocery delivery business - through an expensive endeavor for retailers - has become a hotly-contested space in recent years, as companies compete to relieve shoppers of the one of the few chores many do once a week, if not more: Buy food.

Some Whole Foods stores already offer delivery through a partnership with Instacart; it's unclear whether that partnership will continue.

Today, the two biggest choke points for consumers when it comes to buying groceries online are cost and scheduling.

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"We're happy to bring our customers the convenience of free two-hour delivery through Prime Now and access to thousands of natural and organic groceries and locally sourced favorites", Whole Foods CEO John Mackey said.

Thomson Reuters Tomatoes are pictured at a Whole Foods store in San Diego.

Buying Whole Foods was the biggest part of a push into physical retail for the chain known for online shopping.

Amazon has tried for at least a decade to crack the code on delivering fresh food, with little success.

Delivery from Whole Foods Market through Prime Now is available daily from 8 a.m.to 10 p.m. Walmart, the country's largest grocer, has aggressively expanded its buy-online-pick-up-in-store option throughout the country and is eyeing same-day deliveries in NY. "We will use a variety of methods", was all Landry would say. These are Uber-like contract drivers who sign on for individual Amazon delivery shifts using their own cars but Amazon's routing app. "We're going to have a huge expansion ahead", said Landry.

Amazon will eventually expand the service into other markets, but who cares about them - we need our sustainably farmed swordfish steaks, and we need them now.

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