Amazon is known for being in the business of selling everything, but two things have seemed high on their priority list—Amazon Prime memberships and groceries. The advantages are clear: Both help turn people into regular customers. With Prime, you're paying an annual fee, so you might as well get your money's worth, and groceries are something most people buy on a regular basis, making Amazon part of shoppers' regular routine. With that in mind, this latest Amazon announcement checks two big boxes as the retail giant is further integrating Amazon Fresh grocery delivery into Amazon Prime, axing the $14.99 monthly fee and offering Amazon Fresh as a free Amazon Prime benefit.
"Prime members love the convenience of free grocery delivery on Amazon, which is why we've made Amazon Fresh a free benefit of Prime, saving customers $14.99 per month," Stephenie Landry, Amazon's VP of grocery delivery, said in the announcement. "Grocery delivery is one of the fastest growing businesses at Amazon, and we think this will be one of the most-loved Prime benefits." Customers still have to hit a minimum to qualify for free two hour delivery—usually around $35, according to Amazon—but otherwise no additional fees apply. (Faster and smaller deliveries may still have fees.)
Keep in mind, Prime itself is $12.99 per month, so also paying for the Amazon Fresh add-on was more than doubling members' fees. Getting this service for free is a significant savings for people who were paying for both—and as such, those members are going to be the first to see the new benefit. Amazon says that Prime members using Fresh can start using it for free as of today. Meanwhile, the brand writes, "All other Prime members who live in one of the more than 2,000 cities and towns where grocery delivery is available can request an invitation to shop Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods Market delivery at www.amazon.com/grocery, and we'll alert you when you are able to shop."
Speaking of which, if Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market delivery haven't been available where you live in the past, Amazon suggests you may want to check again. The company says they've only hit that "2,000 cities and towns" target in the last few months, and they are continuing to expand moving forward.
Meanwhile, going from $14.99 per month to free seems like a pretty big jump. What's the catch? An Amazon spokesperson said they couldn't "get into the specifics of the financials, but what I can tell you is that we're really pleased with the growth of grocery delivery." In essence, this would appear to be the old business trick where volume has allowed Amazon to cut its own costs. Along those lines, I specifically asked if Prime fees might be going up because of this change, and they provided no indication that they would be anytime soon.
Of course, maybe you're still not sold on delivery—especially if you're one of those Amazon customers who has reported receiving expired food. But don't worry: Earlier this month, it was reported that Amazon is planning to open its own non-Whole Foods grocery stores, maybe even as soon as by the end of the year. Yup, eventually you'll probably end up buying your groceries through Amazon whether you like it or not!
Try Amazon Fresh delivery here.