Amazon is now letting non-Prime members order grocery deliveries from its Fresh stores, as first reported by Bloomberg. Starting today, customers in a dozen major US cities, including Boston, Dallas, and San Francisco, can place online orders from Amazon Fresh stores and warehouses.
While non-Prime grocery delivery is only available in a handful of cities in the US for now, Bloomberg reports that Amazon plans on rolling out the initiative across the country by the end of this year. Other cities in the rollout include Nashville, Charlotte, Richmond, San Diego, Sacramento, Phoenix, Denver, Austin, and Portland, Oregon. Before this change, Amazon only let those who pay for its $139 per year Prime membership order groceries online.
Non-Prime users won’t have some of the same benefits as Prime subscribers, however. They’ll still have to pay anywhere from $7.95 to $13.95 for grocery delivery fees, which is about $4 more than the typical fee for Prime members. Prime subscribers also get free delivery if their orders are over $150. Amazon will only let non-Prime customers order from Amazon Fresh for now, though, but Bloomberg says it will eventually allow them to get deliveries from Whole Foods and other third-party grocers.
“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,” Claire Peters, the worldwide vice president of Amazon Fresh says in an emailed statement to The Verge.
Additionally, Bloomberg reports that Amazon is making changes to the way customers make online grocery orders as well. Instead of having customers three place separate orders for products in Whole Foods, Amazon Fresh, and other stores on Amazon’s marketplace, Amazon is working to streamline this process by letting users create just one cart. This change might not come until the end of this year or in 2024, Bloomberg notes, as Amazon will need to start stocking Whole Foods products in Amazon Fresh hubs. The company also plans on putting refrigerated sections inside its warehouses.
In the aftermath of the covid pandemic, Amazon has been pulling back on its physical stores. Last year, the company shuttered all 68 of its Amazon Books, Amazon 4-Star, and Amazon Pop Up locations across the US and UK. The company also closed down eight of its physical Go convenience stores earlier this year, while CEO Andy Jassy stated the company would slow the expansion of Fresh supermarkets until it finds a format that “resonates with customers.”
As part of that initiative, Amazon is working on revamping some of its existing stores with less of a focus on some of the high-tech technology they opened with. While customers will still be able to use Amazon’s product-detecting Dash Carts and the cashierless Just Walk Out technology, Amazon says it will install self-checkout stations as well, “giving customers even more ways to save time on their grocery trips and pick what works best for them.” In Chicago, Amazon has already renovated its stores with an “expanded selection” of groceries, along with a built-in Krispy Kreme shop. Bloomberg reports that Amazon is eliminating “hundreds” of junior manager jobs as a result of these changes.
Although Amazon is reworking some of the stores it already has, Tony Hoggett, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide grocery stores, tells Bloomberg that the company is still intent on opening more locations. “We’re very deliberate about growing a big physical store grocery network in the US and around the world,” Hoggett says. “We’re still working out how best to do that... but we will open more grocery stores.”
Update August 2nd, 10:38AM ET: Added a statement from an Amazon spokesperson.