As owner of Whole Foods Market, Amazon is bringing one of its key strengths — swift product delivery — to its retail grocery store business.

Amazon in-store signage
Bloomberg News

Amazon is rolling out a free two-hour delivery service of natural and organic products from the grocery chain in four cities. Amazon, which acquired Whole Foods Market last summer, is making the new delivery service available to its Prime Now members.

The delivery service is operating for Prime customers in Austin, Cincinnati, Dallas and Virginia Beach. Amazon plans expansion of the service throughout the U.S. during 2018.

Customers can shop and pay for their grocery items using the Prime Now website or through the Prime Now mobile app on Android or iOS devices. To receive the free delivery, orders must be for $35 or more.

“We're happy to bring our customers the convenience of free two-hour delivery through Prime Now and access to thousands of natural and organic groceries and locally sourced favorites,” John Mackey, Whole Foods Market co-founder and CEO, said in a Thursday press release. “Together, we have already lowered prices on many items, and this offering makes Prime customers’ lives even easier.”

A year ago, in a move that began to whet Amazon's appetite for a place in the retail grocery sector, the company tested and then opened two AmazonFresh Pickup locations in its home base of Seattle. The concept had options for 15-minute pickup or delivery for a fee, and built on its existing AmazonFresh delivery service.

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