Amazon is continuing to push its Prime benefits with the rollout of grocery pickup to Whole Foods stores in Sacramento, Calif., and Virginia Beach, Va., with plans to expand the program throughout 2018.
The new program comes in the midst of Amazon's rapid expansion of Prime delivery, which is expected to reach the entire U.S. within the year.
The grocery delivery option will allow Prime members to order groceries through the Prime Now app and choose free one-hour pickup or 30-minute pickup for $4.99. Once the customer arrives at the store, they can park in a reserved pickup spot and a Prime Now shopper will place the groceries in their car.
Stephenie Landry, worldwide VP of Prime Now, AmazonFresh and Amazon Restaurants, called the initiative a "perfect option for customers who want to grab healthy and organic groceries at their convenience, all without leaving their car."
"A customer can order at 5 p.m., pick up at 5:30 p.m., and we'll have their groceries loaded into their car just minutes after arrival," she said. "For an even faster experience, customers can tell us they are on their way using the Prime Now app and groceries will be ready as they arrive."
Sylvain Perrier, president and CEO of digital solution provider Mercatus, said the e-tailer is "taking on Walmart," also pointing out that Amazon is "synonymous with home delivery" and is "leveraging its grocery brick and mortar investment as it battles for a greater share of wallet."
" 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," he said. "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."