I am an Amazon Prime member and devout Amazon.com shopper. The convenience of door to door delivery at reasonable prices is drawing more and more people to Amazon.
However I was not using Amazon for grocery shopping yet. To be honest, I actually enjoy getting out of the house by myself for an hour or two as I browse the aisles of my local Wegmans Market. I get inspiration for nightly dinners and enjoy a cup of coffee as I meander the store.
I was drawn to Amazon for groceries simply enough. I saw a deal for Tide laundry detergent online and followed the link to Amazon. There I began shopping the Subscribe and Save section which rewards you as you add additional scheduled purchases. For instance if I buy 5 items I get a 20% discount on the whole delivery. I can even buy bulky items like 30 lbs of dry dog food with no shipping charges!
This led me to another feature of Amazon grocery shopping called Amazon Pantry. With Amazon pantry you can typically buy dry goods and non perishables and pay a flat fee of $5.99 for a box that is about 7 cubic feet. Even if you are a Prime member you still pay the fee which was frustrating. Coupons are offered and pricing seems to be in line with my local supermarket. I tried this and with the exception of the shipping fee, I was pleased with the offerings and buying experience.
Amazon has yet a third option for full supermarket replacement called Amazon Fresh. Amazon Fresh offers full service supermarket replacement inclusive of produce and other cold items. The fee for a year’s worth of delivery is effectively $200 if you are already a Prime member. I tried Fresh this week for the first time and was pleasantly surprised. I scheduled my delivery for “before 7AM” and the driver arrived 5:30AM. There were 6 large green reusable shopping bags on my front porch. Some of them had modular styrofoam boxes for cold items that were packed in both dry ice and/or reusable cold packs. The food was typically bagged in an additional large plastic bag. While I was unpacking the food I found the amount of packaging to be a little alarming so I will send all of it back in the hopes that Amazon recycles it for future deliveries. The dry ice was a fun bonus to play with and make some ad hoc science experiments with my children!
In summary Amazon can easily replace your grocery shopping routine. The prices seemed reasonable with coupons. However I have a few frustrations with the offerings.
- In my opinion Amazon has too many options for shopping. For instance you can buy Tide through Subscribe and Save, Amazon Pantry, Amazon Fresh, or regular cart.
- Prime members get diminishing value. The shipping fees are inconsistent across services.
- The amount of packaging seems wasteful enough to make me consider its impact on the environment. Delivery van resources, plastic bags, styrofoam containers…
My free trial for Amazon Fresh lasts 3 more weeks. I’ll continue to fine tune my ordering and make a decision prior to the $200 bill (I get credit for my existing $99 Prime membership).