This story was first published on Aug. 2, 2023, and was update with additional details on Nov. 10, 2023.
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy’s stated goal has been to “double down” on the company’s grocery business, and just how that will be accomplished is becoming clearer. The most notable change? The retailer is now offering grocery delivery services to non-Prime members in the U.S.
Alongside this effort, the company also is expanding the rollout of its redesigned Amazon Fresh store experience, and said that new Fresh stores are in the pipeline to begin opening in 2024, although executives did not share how many or where those stores will be located.
In August 2023, Amazon Fresh sent an email to customers noting that non-Prime members in 12 key markets would be able to get an assortment of national brands, local brands and private label brands delivered right to their doorstep at the same low prices. Now Amazon has announced that it is expanding delivery availability, as well as free pickup, to customers in all areas where Amazon Fresh stores operate, and will also soon be expand the same offering to all Whole Foods Market locations as well.
Once fully launched across all Whole Foods locations, customers in more than 3,500 cities and towns across the U.S. will have access to two-hour grocery delivery from Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods. Prime members will continue to receive additional benefits, including in-store discounts, delivery discounts and free shipping on Fresh orders over $100.
Delivery service fees for non-Prime members are $7.95 for orders over $100, $10.95 for deliveries in the $50 to $100 range, and $13.95 for deliveries under $50. All pickup orders are free. Prime members will be charged service fees of $3.95 for Amazon Fresh grocery delivery orders in the $100 to $150 range, $6.95 for deliveries of $50 to $100 and $9.95 for deliveries under $50. Prime members also will continue to receive free grocery delivery on orders of more than $150.
“We’re always looking for more ways to make grocery shopping easy, fast, and affordable for all of our customers, and are excited to offer Amazon Fresh grocery delivery to customers without a Prime membership in a dozen U.S. cities,” said Claire Peters, Worldwide Vice President of Amazon Fresh in a statement in August 2023. “Now even more Amazon customers can benefit from our high-quality grocery experience, with Prime members continuing to save on grocery delivery fees and through exclusive savings on hundreds of items in-store.”
Amazon Fresh’s Revamped Store Design Doubles Down on Convenience
In August, Amazon Fresh unveiled a new store experience in its Schaumburg and Oak Lawn, Ill. stores aimed at providing an expanded selection and updated checkout options that provide more convenience to consumers. The design will now be rolled out at three additional locations in the LA area — Pasadena, Irvine and Woodland Hills, Calif.
Featuring more than 2,000 new national and private label products, the revamped store experience is curated with an expanded assortment of international foods and grab-and-go products (including a Krispy Kreme shop-in-shop). The store also features the latest version of the Dash Cart, the smart shopping cart designed to help consumers discover new items, find deals and skip long checkout lines, as well as a new self-checkout installation.
“We see price as an important differentiator for Amazon Fresh customers and as a result, over the last year we have lowered the prices on thousands of items and tripled the size of the promotions we offer, delivering millions of dollars in savings to customers,” said Peters in November. “As we look ahead, we’ll continue to open new stores in 2024. We’re especially excited about the redesigned Amazon Fresh stores and the positive feedback we’re hearing from our customers in Chicago. But that doesn’t mean our job is done. We will continue to iterate and experiment, introducing new features and programs in our Amazon Fresh stores to better serve our customers.”
What’s Next in Amazon’s Grocery Overhaul?
Amazon’s 2017 acquisition of Whole Foods was seen at the time as the behemoth’s big move into grocery, especially given its $13.7 billion price tag. But six years later, the company is still struggling to find its footing and establish a profitable omnichannel model, and so it is overhauling its approach.
Although Amazon operates 44 Amazon Fresh stores across the U.S., new builds were put on an indefinite hold earlier this year and some stores were shuttered. Earlier this month, Amazon completed what Coresight Research has described as “a brick-and-mortar retreat to grocery,” with the closure of its two Amazon Style fashion-focused stores. And earlier this year, Amazon announced that it was closing eight of its Amazon Go convenience stores and pausing all future expansion plans.
Grocery is clearly the focus for Amazon now, with the company also announcing that it is is bringing delivery to customers of a number of local grocery and specialty retailers via Amazon.com, including Bristol Farms, Cardenas Markets, Pet Food Express, Weis Markets and Save Mart.