Amazon's grocery deliver service now ships for free, in an effort to boost adoption of the feature. According to a report by CNET, the U.S. has been slow to catch on to grocery delivery services, but Amazon wants to change that. The company has dropped the delivery fee for Amazon Fresh in the hopes that users will try it out.
Until Tuesday, Amazon Fresh came at the price of $14.99 per month, on top of a regular Amazon Prime membership. This means that Fresh alone was costing users $178.88 per year, on top of the $119 they were already paying for Prime.
Luckily for new customers, not many people took that option. Now, Amazon has announced that Amazon Fresh comes standard with a prime membership. That means customers who are paying for the regular benefits of Prime can get groceries delivered to their home at no extra charge, provided they are within range of a service area.
"We think this offering is going to be a game changer and will grow into one of the most loved benefits of Prime," said Amazon's vice president of grocery delivery Stephenie Landry.
Amazon Fresh piggy-backs on the Whole Foods delivery service, following Amazon's acquisition of the grocery chain. The company reportedly hoped to avoid overloading its networks with new orders by merging the two services. That means that existing Whole Foods deliver customers are automatically enrolled, but others must get an invitation from an existing customer.
At the time of this writing, Amazon Fresh delivers to 21 major markets in the U.S. Amazon's website offers a place to enter your ZIP code, request an invitation and check for updates on the service.
Grocery delivery has become a big goal for online retailers, and Amazon is not the frontrunner in this case. Amazon Fresh is an attempt to catch up with Walmart's Deliver Unlimited, which went live in September. That service still comes with a $12.95 monthly fee, however, so Tuesday's move may put Amazon ahead by a hair.
Other companies have been in the business longer, but most are limited by region. Attempts to create one ubiquitous grocery service for the country have been in the works for over ten years. Amazon Fresh first began in 2007, but it has hit bumps along the way.