Amazon Prime members who order groceries from Whole Foods Market for delivery are in for an added fee starting soon.
In an email on Friday to its Prime members, Amazon, the parent company of Whole Foods Market, stated it would add a $9.95 service fee to grocery deliveries. Amazon is tacking on the fee in six markets, including Detroit.
The new charge starts Aug. 30 and Amazon said it was adding the fee to avoid raising product prices.
Amazon referred to the added charge as a “pilot program,” according to a spokesman in an email to the Free Press.
“This service fee helps to cover operating costs so we can continue to offer the same competitive everyday prices in-store and online at Whole Foods Market,” Amazon said in the email sent to Prime shoppers.
The added delivery charge will help the e-commerce giant cover equipment and other costs associated with grocery delivery.
Amazon also cited that a service fee is common at similar companies.
Grocery pickup is still free for Prime members.
Amazon shook up the grocery industry when it bought Whole Foods Market in 2017 for more than $13 billion. Soon after Amazon offered deals such as the free-delivery deal for Prime members on orders of $35 or more as well as other discounts.
As customers relied on grocery delivery and pickup services because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon said its Whole Foods Markets delivered more than three times as many orders in 2020 than it did in 2019.
Now, Amazon said it is seeing a shift between online orders and in-store visits. It also said that the average basket size has increased since January.
“We are investing in initiatives and technology to make the in-store shopping experience more convenient and rewarding,” the spokesman said.
The five other markets that will see the delivery fee are the metro Chicago and Boston areas; Portland, Maine; Providence, Rhode Island, and Manchester, New Hampshire.
Contact Detroit Free Press food writer Sue Selasky and send food and restaurant news to: 313-222-6872 or [email protected] Follow @SusanMariecooks on Twitter.
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