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On Tuesday morning, Amazon announced that its Amazon Fresh service, which offers fast grocery delivery from local warehouses across the country, is now free for all Prime customers. The popular service previously cost Prime members $14.99 a month on top of their annual $119 membership fee. (If you aren't a Prime Member, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial, here.)
Amazon also says it will be speeding up delivery times, and offering one and two-hour delivery options in most Amazon Fresh cities.
"We have a long history of investing in services we think customers will love, and we think unlimited free grocery delivery will be one of the most loved Prime benefits," Stephenie Landry, Amazon’s vice president of grocery delivery, told TODAY Food.
Amazon has also made Whole Foods Market food delivery available on Amazon.com or via its app.
So, how soon will shoppers be able to start reaping the benefits of this enhanced perk? Prime members who already use the Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods Market grocery delivery services can continue using them at no additional cost starting today (Oct. 29). Prime members who haven't used the services before will need to request an invitation, then they will receive an alert when they're able to start shopping.
Amazon might have eliminated the monthly service fee for Amazon Fresh, but shoppers still need to order at least $35 worth of groceries (or $50 in New York City) to qualify for free delivery. An Amazon representative told TODAY the company also plans to expand its shorter delivery windows to additional cities where the service is already available.
"Grocery delivery is one of the fastest growing businesses at Amazon, which is why we continue investing in adding more selection, expanding ultrafast delivery and now we’re making it free," Landry said.
Of course, that expansion is also a way for Amazon to keep up with its growing list of competitors. Earlier this month, Walmart announced it will deliver groceries right to a customer's fridge via a new service called Walmart InHome.
With Instacart Express, another popular service available nationwide, shoppers pay $99 a year for free delivery of grocery orders over $35. PeaPod shoppers can purchase a yearlong PodPass for $119, which entitles them to unlimited free delivery. And there are plenty of other local services in select markets that offer a variety of delivery options.
The biggest difference? Amazon Prime definitely isn't just about the groceries.