These days, convenience is king. But no matter how easily we can binge-watch shows or how many apps we have to order take-out, dog-walking and rideshares, we still have to grocery shop. Virtually every household does it, and most Americans and Europeans hit the shelves to pick up perishables (like produce or meat) more than once per week.
Profit margins at traditional grocery stores are razor thin. Given that it costs to have someone pick, pack and deliver groceries, we’ve seen a number of online grocery delivery businesses in the age of Internet fail. HomeGrocer, Webvan, and others seemed brilliant as the 2000s dawned, but they failed to maintain a customer base, much less expand to the vast expanse of cities across the U.S.
Amazon, trailblazer in nearly every product category, began preheating the oven on food and grocery long ago. In September 2003, Amazon launched the Gourmet store online, selling chocolates, smoked salmon, gift baskets, and the like.
Amazon Fresh quietly began grocery delivery nearly a decade ago. Rolling out services very gradually, and almost in a stop-start way, testing markets and metropolitan areas. Amazon often partnered with local speciality stores. Fresh is currently available in some U.S. states, London, Tokyo, Berlin (including Potsdam), Hamburg and Munich. Amazon also uses the Fresh service to deliver from local restaurants in some areas. But the service is not widespread.
Amazon Fresh offers delivery and pickup in Seattle, where it has taken root most successfully, with pickup depots and vans in nearly every zip code. The Fresh add-on to a Prime account is $14.99 per month, which makes grocery pickup or delivery over $50 free for members. In the United Kingdom, London has been a successful marketplace for Fresh since 2016, costing an additional £6.99 a month on top of Prime.
Amazon Fresh offers everything you’d find at a regular grocery store, including perishables, frozen foods and fresh, local offerings. With Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods Market in 2017, the grocer has become a big draw of the Amazon Fresh service. Customers can shop Whole Foods on the Amazon site easily, and Whole Foods was featured in Amazon events like Prime Day 2018, as Amazon continues to hone in on the partnership.
Visit Amazon Fresh to learn more or begin a free trial.
Amazon Prime Pantry launched on Amazon in 2014. Offering customers another option to shop grocery products, which is still targeted, but more widely available. Taking advantage of the 100 million-plus Prime-member households, Amazon offers a special service to order grocery and household items. Unlike Amazon Fresh, Prime Pantry does not offer perishables like meat, dairy, vegetables or items requiring refrigeration. In Amazon’s words:
“Prime members in select regions can shop for groceries and household products in everyday sizes, such as a single box of cereal, with Prime Pantry. Prime Pantry offers low priced products and exclusive savings, such as deals and coupons….you can choose between thousands of items available, including snacks, breakfast foods, beverages, beauty and personal care items, and household products and save a trip to the store. You can shop on Prime Pantry Store or by using the free Amazon app.”
As far as cost, Prime members can pay an additional monthly Prime Pantry membership fee to receive free shipping on all orders of $40 or more, or pay a flat $7.99 shipping fee for each order placed.