When Amazon acquired Whole Foods Market this summer, there was immediate speculation on the effects that the merger would have on the two brands. Six months in, along with making Amazon Echo and Alexa available at the natural food stores, Amazon has rolled out some special Whole Foods perks for its Prime customers.
Amazon Prime is a $99 annual subscription service that gives users access to free, two-day delivery as well as streaming video and music. With more than 80 million Amazon Prime members in the U.S. as of April 2017, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, Prime has taken the country by storm.
Early on in the Whole Foods acquisition, allusions were made to the fact that Amazon Prime would eventually become the de facto Whole Foods customer rewards program, and changes in this vein have already begun: here are four major perks you get at Whole Foods Market if you’re an Amazon Prime member.
1. Five Percent Cash Back
As of late February, Amazon Prime Rewards Visa cardholders get five percent cash back on their Whole Foods Market purchases – the same cashback reward already granted to cardholders for their Amazon purchases. This is the first time the retailer has extended such a generous reward to a banner aside from its own, though cardholders already get two percent cash back when they use their cards at other retailers, such as gas stations and restaurants.
Cardholders who aren’t Amazon Prime subscribers aren't forgotten in this new perk: they get a more modest three percent cash back when they use their card at Whole Foods Market.
2. Free Delivery
Also in February, Whole Foods Market announced it would offer Prime customers free two-hour delivery on orders over $35. The free delivery service is currently available in Austin, Cincinnati, Dallas, and Virginia Beach, and Amazon has expressed plans to expand the program nationwide before the end of the year.
The delivery program is run through Prime Now, a service similar to Uber: contractor drivers pick up purchases from Whole Foods Market stores in their personal vehicles and deliver them to the customer's home. Customers can also upgrade to one-hour delivery for a $7.99 fee.
3. Exclusive Price Cuts
While Amazon has been slashing "Whole Paycheck" prices ever since the acquisition became official, Amazon Prime members can occasionally get even bigger price cuts than your average Whole Foods Market customer.
At Thanksgiving, the grocer offered extra discounts for Prime members on holiday essentials like turkey ($1.99/pound as compared to $2.49/pound for non-Prime members). Whole Foods told CNN at the time that these discounts were just a “sneak preview” for future exclusive discounts for Prime users.
4. Easier Access to Whole Foods Market Brand Items
While Whole Foods private labels like 365 Everyday Value were previously available only at Whole Foods Market stores, Amazon's acquisition of the chain has made these items available more widely, specifically via Amazon.com, AmazonFresh, and Prime Pantry. The chain has even dedicated an area of its first automated convenience store, Amazon Go, to the private label products.
Amazon Prime members can get these items delivered to their homes or to their local Amazon Locker free of charge. The Locker program, which was first rolled out in 2011, has now installed more than 2,000 pickup points in more than 50 cities (some of which are located within Whole Foods Market stores), allowing users to pick up Whole Foods products at a location that might be more convenient for them. They can now also pick up Amazon orders on their Whole Foods shopping trip at no added cost.
Related on Organic Authority
Food Shortages at Whole Foods Market Linked to Ordering System, Increased Demand
Post-Amazon, Whole Foods Market Retains Its 'Whole Paycheck' Reputation (and Prices)
Is Whole Foods Becoming the Next Target?