Groceries on Amazon_1

Amazon is opening up availability of grocery delivery to non-Prime members.

Anyone in the more than 100 towns and cities covered by the service can now shop for food from Amazon Fresh, as well as third-party supermarket partners Morrisons, Co-op and Iceland.

But in five cities where Amazon Fresh was axed last week, the service will be limited to Morrisons, Co-op and Iceland deliveries only.

“It’s part of our continued evolution of how we’re thinking about grocery and expanding our access,” Ganesh Rao, vice president, Amazon Fresh International, told The Grocer. “Previously it’s required this membership, so it’s a pretty meaningful change.

“The thinking is, we’re early in our journey, we know that customers have an interest and a desire to shop groceries on Amazon. We really want to remove that barrier.”

The move follows a similar opening up of access in the US at the end of 2023, and in Italy and Spain earlier this year. Rao said it had resulted in boost in shopper numbers, particularly in “lower Prime populations”.

“Millions of customers come to Amazon for everyday essentials,” Rao said. “And we still have a job to do to make sure they’re aware that they can get their full grocery baskets on Amazon. And in those cases, if they’re not considering Prime at that time, it’s just another barrier to wanting to engage.

“We see it as removing the friction from consideration, and being able to just drive awareness that yes, you can get your milk, your eggs, your perishables along with the stuff that you come to Amazon to shop for normally,” he added.

Rao said Amazon’s supermarket partners were supportive of the move, “because we bring so much qualified traffic, and so many valuable customers” to them. Those supermarkets use as a storefront, with the goods ordered fulfilled from stores and delivered by the supermarket.

To counter the removal of the Prime membership perk, this month, Amazon will also be launching grocery ‘Prime Member Deals’ – offering “incredible savings” and promotions on hundreds of products to those paying the £8.99 a month Prime subscription.

The deals will also be available to those shopping in person in the 20 Amazon Fresh stores in London and the south east. Store shoppers will receive an additional 10% off Price Cut products in store, and deals offering as much as 50% off on a rotating range of items. Prime Member Deals do not apply to Amazon’s partner supermarkets. To access Prime Member Deals, customers can browse a dedicated page on the Amazon Fresh website or look for the logo in Amazon Fresh shops. Online, once Prime members select an included product, the Prime discount will be applied automatically upon checkout.

Prime members will get free two-hour delivery on Amazon Fresh online orders above £60, compared with the £80 threshold for non-members. They also benefit from a lower minimum order value (£15 versus £25).

“Grocery is going to continue to have a really important place in the overall Prime membership value proposition and the way that’s going to manifest now is a bit different,” Rao told The Grocer.

“We want to have our Prime members feel disproportionate value and feel the benefit particularly in this inflationary environment where value is so key. It used to be just access.”

Despite opening up groceries on Amazon to all, last week the e-commerce giant announced it would be ending its direct Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service in Glasgow, Portsmouth, Sheffield, Leeds and Newcastle this month.

Amazon launched the online Fresh service in 2016, initially in central and east London. The company had been steadily expanding across the UK since, overhauling several depots to fulfil more fresh produce orders.

“We’re always evaluating our offerings and operations network,” a spokesman said, adding the focus was now on perishable grocery delivery offerings with its partner supermarkets. In all of the cities where Amazon Fresh has ceased operations, customers can still shop with either Morrisons, Co-op, and Iceland or a combination, depending on the area.