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Digiday reports that Amazon is reaching out to lower income shoppers than it traditionally has targeted, “running a discounted $5.99 per month Prime program for customers on government benefits” and offering “a bargain section on its site.”

The story goes on: “The company also created other features like delivery pickup points to serve customers who have difficulty accepting packages. Amazon is also part of a yet-to-be-launched USDA pilot, which will allow SNAP recipients to use EBT cards to make online purchases at participating retailers … It’s an effort to gain ground in an area where Walmart and dollar stores have a home-court advantage, with low prices and a broad physical footprint. But Amazon is betting on a digitally comfortable lower-income consumer for whom time is a premium resource.”

It is, Digiday points out, “fertile ground for Amazon: According to a Piper Jaffray study from October 2018, new Prime subscribers are increasingly coming from middle- and lower-income segments.”

• The San Francisco Business Times reports that “Instacart is cutting 8 part-time employees in Cupertino and 56 in Los Angeles effective Feb. 10 … This is just the tip of the iceberg. On Dec. 12, Instacart announced 243 of its 1,415 part-time in store shoppers who delivered groceries from 76 Whole Foods markets across the nation would be laid off beginning in February.

“The Instacart layoffs are a result of Whole Foods severing ties with Instacart, following Amazon’s buyout of the grocer. Amazon is a competitor of Instacart. The on-demand grocery delivery startup, however, plans place more than 75 percent of the affected Whole Foods shoppers at other neighboring retailers in their area that it strikes deals with.”
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