Starting at the end of February, not all Amazon Fresh grocery orders will be delivered free of charge.
Amazon plans to charge Prime members service fees on Amazon Fresh delivery orders that are under $150, reported MarketWatch. The charge will kick in on Feb. 28. Orders that exceed $150 will remain free with Prime membership.
The delivery charges will vary. The fee will be $3.95 for orders from $100 to $150, $6.95 for orders between $50 and $100, and $9.95 for orders less than $50, the report said.
“We’re introducing a service fee on some Amazon Fresh delivery orders to help keep prices low in our online and physical grocery stores as we better cover grocery delivery costs and continue to enable offering a consistent, fast, and high-quality delivery experience,” an Amazon spokesperson told MarketWatch in an email.
Amazon initially added the Amazon Fresh delivery service, which makes online orders for tens of thousands of fresh products, including meat, seafood, produce, and everyday essentials, available for one- to two-hour delivery, as a free perk for Prime members in October 2019. Before that time, Prime members could obtain access to Amazon Fresh for $14.99 per month as an add-on to their Prime membership.
As a result, all existing Prime members who had been paying for Amazon Fresh were able to continue receiving Amazon Fresh services for free. All other Prime members who live in one of the more than 2,000 cities and towns where grocery delivery is available have been able to request an invitation to shop Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods Market for delivery via Amazon Fresh.
Amazon continues cutting costs
Amazon is ending the free Amazon Fresh delivery perk for Prime members as the company pursues cost reductions across the organization. In November 2022, Amazon publicly announced it has decided to “consolidate” some teams and programs in the devices and services organization (responsible for product lines such as Amazon Echo and Kindle devices).
The company also announced a voluntary reduction offer for some employees in its People, Experience, and Technology (PXT) organization. As a result, Amazon said an unspecified number of jobs are being eliminated.
Earlier in January 2023, Amazon said it plans to eliminate just over 18,000 roles in 2023, with the majority of eliminations in its Amazon Stores and PXT organizations. These job cuts followed a recently announced hiatus in corporate hiring.
During the second quarter of fiscal 2022, Amazon reduced its headcount by about 100,000 employees, and CEO Andy Jassy said the company would scale back operations with the sales boom it experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic cooling.
More recently, Amazon announced it will stop offering its AmazonSmile program, which lets customers donate 0.5% of a purchase to an eligible charity, in February 2023.