Participating in Amazon Fresh just got a lot harder — at least, from the vendor side. Business Insider has confirmed that Amazon will stop allowing local third-party sellers to offer their goods on the platform. Previously, these vendors were given the opportunity to take part of Amazon Fresh’s Local Market Seller initiative, which as the name suggested, gave customers the option of buying locally sourced items, in addition to the products offered by Fresh itself. But now, that will no longer be the case.
Beginning May 30, all local vendors will be axed from the program, and you’ll only be able to buy Amazon Fresh products from Amazon Fresh. This decision was communicated to vendor partners on May 11, a source told Business Insider. Amazon has remained silent on the changes.
This move makes Amazon much more similar to traditional grocery stores, which buy their products wholesale and then sell them to customers. But that doesn’t mean that Amazon is leaving its local grocers out in the cold.
“While this specific program is transitioning, there are many other ways for local merchants to sell on Amazon,” Amazon wrote in its email to vendors. The retail giant also asked sellers to stay tuned for future updates, which will likely still allow them to sell in some capacity through the new program.
Of course, Amazon Fresh has had quite a few setbacks in the last several months. Back in November, Amazon stopped this delivery service in areas in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and California. While the reasons for this are not entirely clear, seeing as Amazon is now offering Whole Foods delivery in under two hours with its Prime Now delivery service, it could be the case that Amazon Fresh is becoming somewhat redundant. Moreover, the executive currently leading Prime Now, Stephenie Landry, is soon to be taking charge of Amazon Fresh, further fueling rumors that the two services could soon become one.
That said, much of this is still speculation, and Amazon has proven time and time again that it has more than a few tricks up its sleeve. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens with Amazon Fresh and its local vendors in the coming months.