AmazonFresh: Groceries on the Front Stoop

Last week I got a postcard announcing the arrival of AmazonFresh to my area. They were offering a free trial and $30 off my first order, so I signed up.

AmazonFresh is Amazon.com’s grocery and same-day delivery service. For $299 a year, you get a Prime Fresh membership, which means you have the right to order stuff from AmazonFresh. Your Prime Fresh membership also includes an Amazon Prime membership, which gives you free 2-day shipping, access to free videos and ebooks and more. Amazon Prime on its own is $99, so the Prime Fresh is “just” $200 more.

Grocery Pricing

AmazonFresh Order

My biggest question concern about AmazonFresh was the price of the groceries. Would they be incredibly expensive? The short answer is no — I pay about a buck and a half for a 2-liter bottle of soda pop in a grocery store, and that’s about the price I paid online. I didn’t find anything out of the range of normal grocery pricing, as you can see from this part of my grocery list.

But… as I was putting stuff in my cart, I realized that I rarely pay the regular grocery prices for stuff. My Fage Greek Yogurt was $1.25 each, but I can almost always find that brand or another on sale for 10 for $10. And I’ll pass up the Carving Board Roasted Turkey Breast if it’s not on sale. So even though I did pay grocery store prices, I spent way more than I would have at my grocery store.

The Shopping Experience

IAlmond Milk was surprised at how challenging it was to shop. I’m not a list maker. I usually just start in one end of the store and work my way through, being reminded of what we need when I come across it. Although I could browse sections of the website, I found it challenging to try to ponder all the things I usually buy then search for them then add them one by one to the online shopping area. Sometimes I knew what I wanted but didn’t know exactly how or where to search for it. AmazonFresh lets you keep an online list, and once you’ve shopped with them a couple of times, chances are it’ll be easier. But for me it took a whole episode of Law & Order.

 

The Delivery Experience

I was so very intrigued by the delivery process. The instant gratification aspect is so exciting! You can order in the morning, and by mid-afternoon, you’re putting groceries away — without ever leaving your doorstep. For my first delivery, I shopped in the evening and set a delivery time for before 7 a.m. You get to choose hour-long windows for delivery, and both of mine were right on. You can choose to have them leave deliveries without confirmation, or you can ask them to delivery when you’re home. When my husband stepped out the next morning to roll the garbage can out to the street, there was the delivery.

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And oh what bags they are — HUGE, bright green reusable bags. Here’s a shot with my 13-lb cat to give you an idea of their size.

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At first I was excited about all the groceries I had gotten for just $88 (only $58 after I applied my $30 discount). But then I opened the bags and realized that they were crazy underpacked. One bag had a bottle of Pellegrino in it. Another held just a box of dishwasher detergent. When I unpacked the six large green bags and put the items into my own grocery bags, everything fit into three.

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About half of the bags had groceries that were contained in a plastic bag. This surprised me, especially here in California where we’re banning plastic bags at stores. It also seemed strange that I don’t think I ever saw information about what to do with the green bags when I was done. I ended up giving them back to the delivery person when I received another order.

Interesting Tidbits

  1. I spoke to the delivery person, and she said her company contracts with Amazon to deliver stuff. She doesn’t work for the company.
  2. The items come to San Diego from the Los Angeles area in a big refrigerated truck. The delivery vehicles also have refrigerated areas. Frozen foods come with dry ice, and refrigerated foods get ice packs. All my stuff arrived in great shape.
  3. Some of the foods cannot be delivered in the regular short window. Cupcakes, for example, usually take an extra day.
  4. Amazon has partnered with some smaller food businesses to bring higher-end, homey-er cuisine and products, such as a local butcher’s meat selections and cheese from a specialty cheese shop.
  5. One neat feature is the recipe section. You can look up recipes, and Amazon will put everything you need to make them into your card with a click.
  6. Besides groceries, you can order all kinds of Amazon things for immediate delivery, including laptops, tea cozies and this incredibly weird pug mask.

The Bottom Line

I’ve enjoyed the experience, but I’m not going to pay $299 a year to have groceries delivered. As I went through this process, I was trying to figure out the best customer for Amazon Fresh. You probably need to have more money than you do time because you’re not going to save on your grocery budget. Perhaps it’s the professional couple who would rather spend time with their kids than run to the grocery store. Or maybe it’s a single person who just doesn’t like running errands. Whoever it is, it’s not me.

Let me know… have you used Amazon Fresh? Would you?

 

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