On Wednesday, Whole Foods launched a much-awaited loyalty program that provides exclusive discounts to the Prime customers, including a discount of 10 percent off on hundreds of items on sale and weekly specials in a rotation.
The company said it will also start offering "weekly deep discounts on select best-selling items" for Prime members, too.
The discounts have rolled out to Whole Foods stores across Florida, for the time being, and will expand to all stores across the USA starting this summer. These will be labeled in store with yellow "10% off" sale signs, and "Prime Member Deal" signs, respectively.
For instance, this week in Florida, wild-caught halibut steaks will be $9.99 a pound, about half the regular price.
Amazon has also set up a dedicated site for more information about the discount program (amazon.com/primesavings). Amazon earlier made an announcement regarding the free two-hour delivery to its Prime members from Whole Foods stores and its subscription club with video streaming and fast shipping.
Sucharita Kodali, an analyst at Forrester Research, said the discounts were likely to hurt the profit margins at Whole Foods - but that was besides the point if the move strengthens Prime, a major focus of Amazon these days.
The Whole Foods location in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood, just blocks from Amazon's headquarters in Seattle.
Items eligible for additional Prime member discounts will be designated by special signs in Whole Foods stores.
And the stores themselves are serving as the brick-and-mortar presence for Amazon's online store, with things like Amazon Lockers, support for returns, and the ability to shop Amazon hardware, like Echo speakers and Fire TV.
"We're thrilled for Whole Foods Market to be part of the Prime experience", said John Mackey, co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market. "Ours vision is thatevery day Prime makes your life better, easier and more fun, and shopping at Whole Foods Market with exclusive deals and savings is all of this and more".