Amazon’s Prime membership offers unparalleled benefits for internet shoppers, from free two-day shipping on most orders to free TV, movie, and music streaming options across several genres. The savings on shipping charges alone make the Amazon Prime membership worth it for many of the 65 million or so Prime members out there, but this isn’t even the best part for folks who shop for food on Amazon.com.
Two relatively new services, Amazon Prime Now and AmazonFresh, were designed with Amazon Prime members’ convenience and frugal tastes in mind. Both grocery delivery services offer a huge selection of fresh, frozen, and pantry items, exclusively for Amazon Prime members.
AmazonFresh vs. Amazon Prime Now
After a free, 30-day trial, AmazonFresh will cost $14.99 per month (on top of the cost of your general Prime membership). In its earlier years, the AmazonFresh program cost $299 annually, so the $14.99 monthly fee isn’t so high by comparison.
Amazon Prime Now, however, does not have a monthly fee attached to it. You can use the service as little or as often as you want, and Amazon Prime Now seems to offer more flexibility because you can control how much you pay for the service in the form of a tip for your delivery person (on the checkout page, Amazon typically suggests a minimum tip amount, which is not required and you can change it within 24 hours of your delivery).
AmazonFresh requires a minimum order amount to be eligible for free delivery, while Prime Now does not have a minimum order amount for some stores (though Amazon.com items may require a $20 minimum order).
AmazonFresh is available in Seattle (and surrounding cities), Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, Sacramento, Dallas, and Chicago. This might sound like a lot of locations, but Prime Now covers many more cities. Orders placed by 10am for AmazonFresh will typically be available after 6pm, and orders placed by 10pm will be available by 6am the next day.
Prime Now offers more expedited options, with delivery windows of just 2 hours after your initial order available in most cities (some areas even offer one hour delivery for a $7.99 surcharge). Prime Now deliveries typically arrive in brown bags, and there is not an option for doorstep deliveries if you have perishable items in your order.
With AmazonFresh, you can choose a one-hour window for an attended (in-person) delivery or a three-hour window for doorstep delivery. Attended deliveries come in plastic grocery bags, while doorstop deliveries arrive in temperature-controlled totes to keep your groceries fresh and cool until you get home. Amazon recently announced its
Amazon recently announced its AmazonFresh Pickup program, which will allow Prime members to shop online and pick up their entire grocery order for free at the store within 15 minutes of placing the order, so keep an eye out for this program in the future.
According to Amazon’s website, Prime Now offers more than 25,000 items spanning 25 different categories of groceries, household items, electronics, and gift items. Some cities even boast one-hour restaurant deliveries and deliveries from local grocery stores like Sprouts, New Seasons Market, plum market, and more.
AmazonFresh also has thousands of grocery and household items available, including specialty foods from local markets. There are similar product offerings between Prime Now and AmazonFresh, but the pricing is less predictable for AmazonFresh.
In addition to the monthly fee, AmazonFresh seems to charge higher prices on some grocery items than what you might find in your local grocery store. While contacting customer service for refunds is a swift process in instances where some of your AmazonFresh items didn’t live up to your expectations, the disparity in prices you pay for items through AmazonFresh and at a regular grocery store might not be worth the membership.
However, Amazon Prime Now offers very similar pricing because many of the grocery items come directly from those local stores. Be sure to compare prices between the two programs before deciding which one is right for you.
Grocery delivery services are the hottest trend for today’s consumers who value convenience and affordability over spending hours each week walking up and down aisles of a grocery store and waiting in checkout lines. With AmazonFresh and Prime Now, Amazon is poised to revamp the grocery industry in the coming years, but it’s up to individual Prime members to decide which service will best suit their grocery shopping needs.