If you have Amazon Prime, you’re paying for perks like faster delivery, the Prime Video streaming service and more. With a Prime membership, you can also get your groceries delivered to your door — for free — with Amazon Fresh.
I recently ordered groceries from Amazon Fresh to share my experience and give you some tips about grocery delivery. In this article, I’ll discuss what you need to know when you order from Amazon Fresh.
6 Things to Know About Amazon Fresh Grocery Delivery
Ordering groceries online means you save time by not going into a store. Plus, you can compare prices from different retailers to know if you’re getting a good deal.
In each section of this article, you’ll find information about Amazon Fresh including a step-by-step guide to placing your order. Then you can decide if this grocery delivery service is right for you.
I went through the Amazon Fresh ordering process to show you exactly how it works and to share tips along the way. Here’s what you need to know to get started:
- What Is Amazon Fresh?
- Who Can Use Amazon Fresh?
- How Does Amazon Fresh Work?
- What Can I Buy on Amazon Fresh?
- How Are Amazon Fresh’s Food Prices?
- Pros and Cons of Amazon Fresh Grocery Delivery
What Is Amazon Fresh?
The Amazon Fresh grocery service is one of several grocery delivery services owned by Amazon. It works primarily with Whole Foods Market. If you’re outside the United States, Amazon Fresh is also available through other grocery chains.
When Amazon debuted the service, it came with an extra monthly charge. But now it’s free with a Prime membership, and you’re charged an extra fee only if you don’t meet the spending threshold. Orders under $35 (or $50 in some areas) will incur a delivery fee, Amazon says.
Amazon Fresh has historically been available only in select cities, but more on that later.
Who Can Use Amazon Fresh?
Although this service used to be available to all Prime members, now you have to be invited or put in a request.
Anyone with a Prime membership, whether it’s paid or a free trial, can request access to Amazon Fresh. If you aren’t already an Amazon Fresh member, click here.
You’ll get an email when Amazon gets your request, then another when you have been approved to use the service.
Amazon Fresh is now available in more than 2,000 cities and towns, and the company says it will continue to expand this grocery service.
If you’re wondering whether Amazon Fresh is available where you live, type in your ZIP code here.
How Does Amazon Fresh Work?
Amazon Fresh lets you shop for groceries online and then delivers them to your door. Amazon offers a mix of their own store brands, the Whole Foods 365 brand and other name brands.
As mentioned above, check to make sure Amazon Fresh is available in your area before starting this process. I’m going to lay out each step for you here, but you can also view the process in the video at the top of this article.
1. Create an Amazon Prime Account
You need to have a Prime membership to request Amazon Fresh access.
If you don’t already have Amazon Prime, you can sign up for a free trial. Once the trial period is up, you’ll have to pay for Prime but you could be eligible for a discounted membership.
Prime membership options include:
- Prime Monthly ($12.99 per month)
- Prime Annual ($119 per year)
- Prime Student ($6.49 per month)
- EBT and Medicaid Discount Prime ($5.99 per month)
If you think that the only Prime perk you’ll use is Amazon Fresh, it may not be worth paying for a full-price membership. Other grocery delivery services have lower or no membership costs at all.
But if you think you’ll take advantage of multiple Prime offers and it fits in your budget, it may be worth it for you.
2. Send Your Amazon Fresh Request
Once you have a Prime account, you can go to this page to send an Amazon Fresh request. If you’ve already requested access, but haven’t been approved yet, here’s what you’ll see:
When I requested access in October 2019, I was able to start shopping on Amazon Fresh a week later.
3. Go Shopping
When you shop on Amazon Fresh, you can do a simple search for an item on your list or browse by product category. All you have to do when you see something you want is click “Add to Cart,” and the item will appear in your cart on the right.
If you hover your cursor over an item in your cart, you can see the item details, change the quantity you want to order or delete the item from your cart.
Near the top of your cart page, you’ll see the subtotal for the Amazon Fresh items you’ve ordered so far. Underneath the subtotal, you might see a box that says “Add $X of items from Fresh for FREE Delivery.”
You must spend $35 or $50 (before tax), depending on where you live, to get free delivery. The delivery fee in my area is $4.99 if you don’t meet the threshold.
If you’re using Amazon Fresh as your main source of groceries, you likely won’t have a problem meeting the free delivery spend. However, if you’re thinking of using it as a filler between trips to the store, this service may not be worth the extra fee.
One other thing I noticed is that Amazon Fresh doesn’t allow you to make choices about substitutions like some other grocery delivery services such as Instacart. Amazon says it may substitute unavailable items with similar products, and if that happens, you’ll see it listed in the delivery or pickup confirmation email.
If an item is unavailable and Amazon doesn’t replace it, you won’t be charged for that item. Amazon also says that if a replacement is necessary, you likely won’t be charged at all for the substituted item.
Once you’re satisfied with everything in your cart, click “Proceed to Checkout.”
You’ll be taken to the Amazon equivalent of the candy rack next to the register where they try to get you to make an impulse purchase. When I placed my order I gave in and made an impulse buy: There were cookies front and center, and I just couldn’t resist.
You can potentially avoid facing these last-minute decisions by keeping your shopping list close by until you’ve completed your purchase.
4. Schedule Your Order
Confirm the drop-off location for your order. Amazon will auto-populate this section with the address you have on file.
Next, you’ll select the day for the delivery. Depending on demand, you’ll be able to schedule up to a few days in advance.
Then choose a two-hour delivery window based on when you’ll be available to receive your order. Amazon says that you should “immediately store your chilled/frozen items and perishables upon delivery to maintain the safety and quality of these items.”
5. Review and Place Your Order
On this page, Amazon will auto-populate the default address and payment information it has on file for you. Amazon will also apply any gift cards you’ve redeemed on your account unless you indicate otherwise.
If you’d like to make changes to your delivery address or payment method, click the blue “Change” button next to that section.
You can also add any special instructions you have for the delivery driver. This extra information could be a gate code or a request for the driver to leave the groceries by a specific door.
Check one last time that everything is correct and click the “Place Your Order” button.
A note about tipping on Amazon Fresh: At the time of my order, Amazon didn’t make it very clear as to whether a tip had been applied or how to change it. On my checkout page, there was no tipping section or tip listed in my order total.
Only later did I notice a separate charge for $5. When I went back and looked at the confirmation email, the $5 tip charge was listed, but I missed it initially.
This can be confusing, so review every part of your order carefully and adjust your tip according to your order total.
6. Receive Your Order
When you place your order, you’ll get a confirmation email with details including the scheduled time of the delivery and your estimated order total.
Now, you just wait for your groceries. When they arrive, the delivery person will bring the bags to your door or wherever you indicated in the special instructions section.
My order arrived about 30 minutes into my delivery window.
What Can I Buy on Amazon Fresh?
You may be wondering what kinds of foods are available. Just as if you were at the supermarket, there are all types of produce, meats, seafood and snacks available as well as household and home improvement items.
Some top Amazon categories are:
Food: Whole Foods products, dairy, meat, seafood, produce, prepared foods, meal kits, beverages, breads, snacks
Personal Care, Health & Beauty: Skincare products, cosmetics, and even baby products
Local & Seasonal: Local products like honey and fresh vegetables — as well as favorites from your region — are available with the rest of your Amazon Fresh order.
Several members of Team Clark have tested Amazon Fresh. Team Clark writer Michael noticed that the service took good care of his groceries, wrapping and insulating his perishables.
“I was really impressed with how carefully Amazon packed my groceries,” Michael says. “Refrigerated items had multiple ice packs, and there was dry ice to keep frozen items at the proper temperature.”
Here’s how his Amazon Fresh order arrived:
On the other hand, when I received my order, no extra care was taken. My refrigerated items were grouped together in paper bags, but there weren’t any ice packs or extra insulation.
That said, all of my items were in good condition. The refrigerated items were cold, and there weren’t any bruises on the vegetables.
How Are Amazon Fresh’s Food Prices?
Compared to retailers like Costco and Aldi, Amazon Fresh appears to be on the pricey side. That makes sense given Whole Foods’ customer base.
Check out some of Amazon Fresh’s prices for delivery in Atlanta, as of December 2020:
- Bananas, 2 lb. bag: $0.98
- Blackberries, 6 oz: $2.91
- Hass avocado, 1 (large): $1.11
- 365 Everyday Value, Organic Baby Spinach, 5 oz.: $1.99
- Yellow onion: $0.81
- 80% Lean Ground Beef, 1 lb.: $3.98
- Just Bare Natural Fresh Chicken, Boneless, Skinless, Breast Fillets, 1 lb.: $5.73
- Nature’s Own, Honey Wheat Bread, 20 oz.: $3.07
- Happy Belly Cage-Free, Large, White eggs, 1 dozen: $2.49
- Happy Belly, Unsalted Butter, 16 oz.: $2.99
- Honey Nut Cheerios, Gluten-Free, Cereal With Whole Grain Oats, 8.9 oz.: $2.44
You can save money if you look for the sale items on the “Fresh Deals” page. Items with orange labels under them show you how much you save.
Pros and Cons of Amazon Fresh Grocery Delivery
Overall, Amazon Fresh proved to be reliable by delivering groceries to my door on time without any incident. However, it does have a few shortcomings. Here are the pros and cons I found from using this service:
- Convenience: You can place your order from any device, track its progress online and get your groceries without leaving your home. This saves tons of time that you would have spent going into a store. In addition to groceries, you can also buy household items that you might not find at the grocery store.
- Same-Day Delivery: Amazon Fresh offers same-day and advanced scheduling for delivery. If you want same-day delivery, make sure that you order early. Otherwise, the time slot you want could be full, and you’ll have to wait.
- Organic Options: Because Amazon owns Whole Foods, the organic selection was pretty big. Organics included produce and packaged foods of all kinds.
- Prime Membership Barrier: Having a Prime membership costs a lot, so if you don’t already have one, I wouldn’t advise buying it just for the Amazon Fresh service. There are other grocery delivery options that don’t require a membership or other upfront costs. You also have to send a request to access Amazon Fresh, so you should sign up right away if you plan to use the service.
- Substitution Policy: Unlike other grocery services that let you actively allow or disallow substitutions, Amazon Fresh does not give you the option.
- Budget Selections: While some items were priced fairly compared to other grocery stores, I found there to be very few budget selections on Amazon Fresh. Always comparison shop to make sure you’re getting the best deal out there.
So the big question: Is Amazon Fresh a good deal?
My first impression of Amazon Fresh is that it’s limited in terms of budget items that you might find at other grocery stores. However, if you tend to buy organic foods, you’ll have a broad selection because Amazon Fresh carries Whole Foods items.
Now that Amazon Fresh is a free perk for Prime members rather than a separate membership, more people may take advantage of this grocery delivery service. While not as popular, the pickup option could see an uptick as well.
If you don’t already use Amazon Fresh, are you going to try it? Let us know in the comments below!