Online grocery shopping has become a new trend in today's digital world. With the ease of access and connectivity, browsing for household needs is just a quick press and send away. The thought of saving on gas and not needing to stand in line are also attributes that factor into the appeal of online grocery shopping. With that trend, Amazon began testing their online grocery shopping service called AmazonFresh in 2007.
Today, the service provides convenient and budget-friendly grocery services to folks living in select U.S cities including Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Fort Worth, Denver, Miami, Milwaukee, New York City, Philadelphia, Seattle, Washington DC, and various parts of California. Recently, the service started delivering orders to Chicago and Dallas, and has also reached Tokyo, London, and select German cities.
Visit Amazon.com/AmazonFresh to see if delivery or pickup is available in your area.
AmazonFresh offers a selection of local and name-brand goods including many 365 store-brand products from Whole Foods, produce, deli, dairy, meat and seafood, and non-perishable foods including breads and snacks. The service also caters to gluten-free and vegan lifestyles offering options for many types of diets.
Aside from food, the service sells toiletries, pet supplies, and health and beauty products. You can order any assortment of these products and if you spend more than $50, you will receive free shipping; otherwise, there will be shipping costs for each order.
For large families, working parents, and those living in expensive cities, or areas without many grocery store options, Fresh offers an alternative and convenient way to keep your groceries and household supplies stocked without waiting in long lines or making multiple trips to the store each week.
However, if you are only looking to order a few items occasionally, this service might not be for you. Fresh orders seem to be more representative of a week's worth of grocery shopping.
If orders are placed before 10am, you will have your orders by dinner time, and for orders placed by 10pm, goods will be received early the next day, providing fast and convenient deliveries. What's more, you can choose either attended or unattended delivery, meaning you don't have to be home to receive an order. The ordering process is also flexible, meaning that if you forget to buy something, you can add it to orders that you have already placed!
In order to use AmazonFresh, you must first sign up for an Amazon Prime membership. Upon registration, Fresh will prompt you to select your preferred time for deliveries, but you can wait to answer this until checking out.
Signing up is simple and takes only a few minutes.
Ordering is as simple as placing items in your online cart, and if you're familiar with browsing and shopping on Amazon, you won't have any problems locating the products you need.
Items are broken up into categories like "Breads & Bakery", "Produce", and "Gluten-Free" which makes it easier to navigate the site. Other categories like locally made food, for example, can be found in the "Local Market" section.
Once your cart is full and you are ready to place the order, Fresh will prompt you to select a delivery time for same-day or next-day delivery, and offers a choice between "Doorstep Delivery" or "Attended Delivery". Doorstep offers a three-hour window for delivery while attended offers a one-hour window and requires customers to be home during that time period.
The Magic Dash Wand and the Amazon Dash Button
The Magic Dash Wand is the perfect accessory for AmazonFresh. Similar to Alexa, the tiny device allows you to ask questions and add groceries or household items to your purchase list. All you have to do is scan the barcode of the item or say what you need.
If you are already an Amazon Prime member, the Dash Wand is essentially free. It requires payment that will be returned to your account in the form of credit once you have registered the device.
In addition to the convenience of the Magic Dash Wand, Dash Buttons also make the process of ordering goods easier. Essentially, Dash Buttons are shortcuts for reordering your favorite products. Dash Buttons feature the brand logo so that reordering products is easy.
Because some products might have the same brand logo, Amazon creates specific labels accordingly in an effort to decrease any confusion when reordering products. Simply click the brand logo or label and you'll receive more information about the product, including price.
Dash Buttons can be found in the Accounts and Lists menu, and to add a button, search for the product you want and click "Add to your Dash Buttons" which is located under "Add to Cart". You can also find this when confirming that the product ships with Prime.
With instant pick-up, you can retrieve goods at select pickup points shortly after placing an online order. This move to in house pick up has shortened delivery times to just a few minutes.
Currently, these "Instant Pick-up" points are near five college campuses including the University of California at Berkeley. Amazon, however, plans to increase the amount of pick-up points, effectively increasing the number of people able to use the service.
You can even place your order using Amazon's mobile app with hundreds of options including snacks, drinks, and phone chargers. Within two minutes, Amazon employees pack your orders into lockers that you will have access to using a barcode.
What I love about Amazon Fresh
How I wish the service would change
Is Amazon Fresh for everyone?
AmazonFresh is most suited for customers with large families, working parents, people living in cities or in areas with limited grocery store options, elderly folks, or individuals with disabilities.
What if you are not at home?
Doorstep delivery allows you to schedule a three-hour window for delivery and the best part is that you don't have to be home. Your order will be dropped off at your front door and packaged in tote bags that keep perishable items fresh for hours.
Is there a refund policy?
If you are not content with the condition of the items you ordered, AmazonFresh has a 30-day refund policy.
Based on how long you've had the item and how the item was purchased, refund amounts and types of refunds will vary. For example, grocery items, wine, and pet food cannot be returned, but refunds or replacements can be issued.
In some cases, you might receive an email indicating that the product you ordered is no longer available. In this case, Amazon sends a similar product free of charge or refunds you for that item.
How do you cancel your AmazonFresh Subscription?
- Go to Your Account
- Click "Manage Prime Membership"
- Click "Manage Fresh Add-on" which can be found under the Fresh section.
Then, proceed to click "End Membership" on the left side if you would like to end a paid membership. If you place an order using your account, you will not be eligible for a refund.
Is there a free trial?
Amazon Prime members can sign up for a 30-day free trial of AmazonFresh. After the trial period is up, customers will be automatically charged $14.99 for the AmazonFresh subscription, which lasts a month. Trails can be canceled at any time, and if you end your membership during the trial period, you will not be charged any fees. More information about free trials and canceling memberships is available here.
Do they deliver at night?
If you place an order by 10 a.m., you will receive your goods by 6 p.m., and if you order by 10 p.m., you will receive your delivery by 6 a.m the very next day.
Can I reuse totes and packaging?
The brown paper and clear plastic bags are recyclable but do not have to be returned, and insulated bag liners can be reused or disposed of.
Totes, on the other hand, can be picked up by Amazon. Under Amazon Packaging, you can request a Tote Pickup. Returning totes in not necessary, but it keeps costs down and is better for the environment. Totes can also be returned during your next order.
While prices are relatively low, and the service is convenient for busy families, people who have a disability, or for elderly folks that have a difficult time getting to the grocery store, you might still end up taking a few trips to the grocery store even if you order most of your basic items online.
Furthermore, if you are relying solely on AmazonFresh orders and they forget to send one of the items you ordered, it might pose problems if you have plans or other commitments to prep for.
Either way, it doesn't seem plausible to solely rely on AmazonFresh for your groceries, and you will more than likely still visit your local grocery store if they forget to include something in your order or lack some of your favorite products or brands.
AmazonFresh Rating Summary
Excellent customer service and ability to resolve issues and complaints was noted many times in personal testimonies. In some cases, customers received an email indicating the product that they ordered was no longer available.
Those customers received either similar products free of charge or were refunded for their purchase.
Ease of website navigation was also noted by many customers as they are able to quickly and easily skim through Fresh categories and add items to their carts.
What Doesn't Work?
Many customers have reported that they were not able to find products that they generally keep handy in their kitchens. They also indicated that some produce orders included damaged or bruised goods, moldy fruits, and poorly packaged items.
In some cases, orders are delivered to the wrong addresses or do not arrive during the scheduled delivery time window.