Hardly a week goes by without someone upping the ante a bit in the eCommerce wars. It seems that between Amazon and Walmart, they each try to figure out how to best each other by offering another wrinkle to their services.
Just this week Walmart launched more cities that offer grocery delivery with Uber. Hardly a significant innovation, but it made the news cycle.
But the company’s bigger news was today when Walmart announced they partnered with Google to become part of the Google Home ecosystem.
And not to lose ground on newsworthy announcements, late in the day, Amazon announced they are now delivering fresh produce to Amazon Business customers.
Amazon Business is the separate division in Amazon that caters products to business customers. The company claims to have about over million Amazon Business customers signed up.
If you are already buying paper, pencils, pens, and other office supplies in select markets where Amazon Fresh operates, you can now add groceries to the list to stock up the lunch room.
Currently, Amazon Fresh is available in these U.S. cities:
- New York
- Washington, DC
- Northern Virginia
- Los Angeles
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- San Jose
AMAZON FRESH SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED
Like the standard Amazon Fresh service, business customers must also subscribe to the $14.99 per month service to receive Amazon Fresh deliveries.
Essentially, the program is identical to the consumer program, except it integrates into the Amazon Business portal on the Amazon website.
REDUNDANT BRANDING AS AMAZON FORGES AHEAD WITH WHOLE FOODS?
On the one hand, they are all in on the Whole Foods acquisition, but on the other hand, they are still expanding Amazon Fresh. At first glance, it all seems a bit redundant.
However, Amazon Fresh is operating today. Therefore, expanding the customer base without having to add significant additional investment is a smart move.
While the Amazon / Whole Foods acquisition received the green light from the FTC this week, it still requires shareholder approval to close the deal. In June, Amazon stated it expects the purchase to close by the end of 2017.
This timeline means they end up owning Whole Foods just around the busy holiday season. No one would expect Amazon to roll out eCommerce or delivery integrations with Whole Foods while they are busy shipping millions of holiday packages.
Realistically, the first signs of any Whole Foods integrations into the Amazon ecosystem are probably at least 6-12 months away. In the meantime, Amazon needs to continue to push Amazon Fresh until they can work on either integrating both entities or creating a synergy between the two groups.
With Walmart aggressively targeting Amazon in eCommerce now, the company can’t sit still. So expect more news about Amazon Fresh in the short term.
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