Earlier this year, after the rather hyped acquisition of Whole Foods by Amazon for $13.4 billion, Amazon expanded its grocery delivery service – Amazon Fresh.
The grocery delivery service costs $14.99 a month apart from the Amazon Prime membership, which runs $99 a year. Customers who place orders in the morning receive their delivery of perishable and packaged foods on the same day. Orders which are placed later in the day are delivered the following morning.
Amazon created the service in 2007, but did not expand it outside Seattle, Washington until 2013. Since then, the service has grown to cities across California, New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas and Miami, among others.
“We see a lot of opportunity with Whole Foods,” Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said last month. “There will be a lot of work together between Prime Now, Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods, Whole Foods products on the Amazon site [and] Amazon lockers at the Whole Foods stores.”
However, Amazon recently announced plans to abruptly shut down the Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service in parts of nine states. The company did not provide much of an explanation for the decision, but Recode.com reported that the company blames the U.S. Postal Service. The reason for the blame is that they offered an unreliable experience to customers. Many customers reported missed or delayed deliveries. With no other good delivery options for fresh food in these areas, Amazon decided to shut down the service.
The grocery delivery partnership between Amazon and the U.S. Postal Service began with a trial service in San Francisco in 2014. It was at the end of the trial period that the Postal Service won approval for an expanded multi-year test later in the year. The Postal Service also instituted Sunday deliveries of non-grocery packages for Amazon several years ago.
However, after the continuous complaints lodged by customers, Amazon had to take serious action. The company, therefore, decided to end the contract with the U.S. Postal Service and subsequently halt the service altogether.
An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment.