AmazonFresh expands to three key markets: Houston, Minneapolis and Phoenix

AmazonFresh, one of two main grocery delivery services Amazon operates, is expanding to new markets, the retailer announced this morning. The service will now be available to Prime members in Houston, Minneapolis and Phoenix. Notably, this list includes a test market for Walmart’s new grocery subscription service, Delivery Unlimited; Target’s corporate headquarters; and an early test market for Walmart’s online grocery business, respectively.

Members in these cities will have access to tens of thousands of grocery items, including fresh fruits and produce, meat, seafood and other everyday essentials, all of which can be delivered for free in two hours. Free delivery requires a $35 minimum order, or a $9.99 delivery fee will apply if the order totals less than $35.

Meanwhile, a faster, one-hour delivery option is also available for an additional $9.99 fee.*

With the launch, AmazonFresh is available in Las Vegas, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

“We’re thrilled to introduce AmazonFresh to Prime members in Houston, Minneapolis and Phoenix,” said Stephenie Landry, vice president of AmazonFresh and Prime Now, in a statement. “Prime members tell us they want their stuff even faster. We’re happy to deliver on that ask and can’t wait for customers in Houston, Minneapolis and Phoenix to take advantage of one- and two-hour delivery from AmazonFresh,” she added.

Amazon’s strategy with online grocery is a bit mixed. Today, Prime members can opt for deliveries through Prime Now, which delivers from Whole Foods markets as well as Amazon fulfillment centers, and in some areas, from local grocers. Prime Now is covered in the cost of an Amazon Prime subscription, while AmazonFresh requires an additional $14.99 per month fee.

It’s not clear why someone would choose AmazonFresh over Prime Now — if both were available — given the cost. The only reason may be that AmazonFresh offers a better selection in some markets. But consumers aren’t only choosing between these two options. They also can shop from Walmart’s online grocery, Instacart, Shipt and others.

Amazon recently pushed back against an industry report that claimed AmazonFresh was struggling. The retailer argued that it’s still investing in the service, expanding it to new markets, and pointed out that it never exited entire markets — it only pulled back in some zip codes. That said, AmazonFresh has grown far slower than Prime Now, with availability in 18 markets as of this news, versus Prime Now’s nearly 100.

In addition to the convenience of shopping online or in the app, AmazonFresh also works with Alexa. Customers can say things like “Alexa, order milk from Fresh,” and Alexa will add a choice for milk to their shopping cart.

*Correction: One-hour delivery is $9.99, not $7.99, and requires a basket total of over $35. Under $35, it’s $3.99.