Amazon is wading into the choppy waters of Instacart and other grocery gig companies with a new Whole Foods delivery program.
The company announced the new Shop and Deliver program as a part of Amazon’s existing gig-delivery program, Amazon Flex. Flex drivers use their own cars to make Amazon package deliveries, and now they will get the option to take Whole Foods delivery orders, too.
Unlike a typical Flex order, however, delivery workers also will do the shopping. Amazon described the model in a post on Amazon Flex:
We’re excited to introduce a new kind of Amazon Flex delivery offer called Shop and Deliver. During a Shop and Deliver order, Amazon Flex delivery partners shop for a customer’s order at Whole Foods Market and deliver the items directly to the customer.
Shop and Deliver is a type of instant offer, and provides you with a new flexible earnings opportunity, in addition to existing block offers and regular instant offers.
The announcement is complete with how deliveries work (they ping the Flex driver’s phone), food-handling tips, how to find items and even some tips on how to pick the ideal produce for the end customer. There’s even a tip about how to use shopping carts for gig drivers who apparently are one sudden stop from being crushed by a cart:
“For your safety, always push your cart, never pull it. If you have to stop suddenly, it’s easier to stop the cart from behind so it won’t run into you,” reads the guide.
That might seem silly, but as Amazon moves toward more gig workers, it’s seemingly being extra careful to avoid lower quality customer experiences and bad avocados from showing up on doorsteps.
According to emails seen by Bloomberg, the drivers will earn $15 an hour at minimum. At that very contentious wage, the company is still expected to save money on grocery operations by pushing more delivery operations into flexible, gig roles.
The company is currently recruiting for the “limited number” of Flex spots in a couple dozen U.S. cities and has operations in 50 markets.
So far, there has been no announcement of how this will work in the new Amazon Fresh grocery stores if at all.