Oct. 21 (UPI) -- Amazon said Wednesday it's beginning one-hour pickup service for Whole Foods customers in an effort to meet demand for its growing curbside business amid the global health crisis.
Amazon said the one-hour service, for which orders are made online, is available to Prime members who make orders of at least $35. Amazon Prime memberships come with other services that include video streaming and other e-commerce deals outside of Whole Foods, the company noted.
"While the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of online grocery services and prompted new customers to try services like grocery pickup, it's clear that this offering will become a more permanent solution for many customers," Amazon wrote in a blog post.
Amazon said it found more than 40% of Whole Foods Market pickup orders each month are made by customers using the service for the first time, while nearly 70% said they will continue using it when the coronavirus crisis ends.
The retail giant already offered two-hour delivery for more than 170,000 items on its Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market platforms.
Amazon's move is viewed by some experts as an effort to compete better with rivals Walmart and Target, which have improved curbside services.
"They're really trying to catch up here with those who have been at this for a while," said Steve Caine, retail expert and partner at Bain & Co.