Amazon offering speedy grocery delivery from Whole Foods Market in West Des Moines
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds speaks to the press about the state's COVID-19 response on Sunday, March 29, 2020. Des Moines Register
Amazon Prime members can now have groceries from the Whole Foods Market delivered within two hours.
Amazon announced expanded delivery services from the Whole Foods Market in West Des Moines on Wednesday in response to the growing coronavirus pandemic. Prime customers can shop for groceries online and schedule delivery without having to leave home.
Here's the kicker: Two-hour delivery for orders of $35 or more is free for Prime members, while one-hour delivery will cost them an additional $4.99.
"We are closely monitoring the impact of COVID-19 and working quickly to get groceries and essential items to customers as fast as possible," Amazon, which owns Whole Foods, said in a release. "We've seen an increase in people shopping online for groceries and are constantly looking for new ways to meet this increased demand."
Delivery is available daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., an Amazon spokesperson told the Des Moines Register, and it will remain available regardless of COVID-19.
Whole Foods Market will deliver as far north as Saylorville Lake, Elkhart and Granger, as far east as Altoona and Pleasant Hill, as far south as Carlisle and Martensdale, and as far west as Van Meter and Dallas Center, the spokesperson added.
Customers have the option of "unattended delivery" to avoid contact with others. Orders not containing alcohol are eligible for unattended delivery and will be left in a specified location by the customer.
Whole Foods Market already had implemented adjusted hours at stores nationwide. The West Des Moines location is open each day from 9 a.m.-8 p.m., but customers ages 60 or over can begin shopping at 8 a.m. before the store opens to the rest of the public.
Some experts believe delivering groceries within two hours will be a challenge, even for a medium-sized metro area such as Des Moines.
"You have to read between the lines or use some practical sense," said Marc Wulfraat, an international logistics expert. "For two hours, that’s probably for people who live closer to the store. But for people who live further out, it might take longer."
Wulfraat said he was not surprised that Amazon decided to offer the service, despite normally reserving guarantees of fast grocery delivery for larger metro areas like Chicago and Seattle.
"They’re clearly addressing the surging demand," he said. "Amazon is going to leverage every opportunity they can to help customers get what they want in this time of need. They’re reacting to an opportunity."
Cody Goodwin normally covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register, but is assisting with ongoing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.
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