I used AmazonFresh to order groceries to my door next-day - here's how the service works

Amazon Fresh 4x3Alyssa Powell/Business Insider

  • AmazonFresh is Amazon's grocery delivery service, which Prime members in select cities can add to their Prime membership for $14.99 per month.
  • I tried ordering my groceries through AmazonFresh. Overall, prices were typically cheaper than my most convenient local options and items were on par with or exceeded the quality of what I've bought in person locally. Unfortunately, one item was missing from my delivery, but I received a fast and easy refund.
  • You can start your 30-day trial here, or keep reading about my review the service.

If you're one of the 100 million Amazon Prime subscribers out there, Amazon's grocery delivery and pickup service, AmazonFresh, may be one of the most enticing grocery delivery options.

AmazonFresh allows you to shop for groceries online directly, as long as it's available in your city. You can make selections from local shops and supermarkets, picking up everything from household supplies to fresh tomatoes in the following categories: produce, perishables, grocery (snacks, canned foods, pantry staples), beverages, household, personal care items, and specialty stores (think: local markets, plant-based options, organics, and new product arrivals, etc.).

After your free 30-day trial, it's $14.99 per month (which gets tacked on to the cost of your Prime membership). Once you've signed up, you can begin shopping for fresh produce, meats, and groceries for delivery either same day or the very next day.

There are a few AmazonFresh delivery options:

  • Attended delivery is available in all cities where AmazonFresh is available. You choose a one-hour time slot when you'll be available to receive your order in person, and you'll get them delivered in paper bags rather than temperature-controlled totes. If you're not around, the Amazon delivery person can also leave it with your doorman or security guard if that's an option. You can leave other instructions when completing your order on the preview order page.
  • Doorstep delivery is also available everywhere AmazonFresh is available. Choose a two-three hour time slot that works for your schedule, and Amazon will leave your items on your doorstep in temperature-controlled totes. Unfortunately, if your building has a secure entry or limited access, you shouldn't choose this option. You can also leave special instructions when you order if they won't be able to access your doorstep.
  • Free delivery is available on both attended delivery and doorstep delivery if you meet the local pre-tax minimum, which ranges from $35-$50 depending on the area. Orders under the local free-shipping threshold (before tax) will have a $9.99 delivery fee applied at checkout. If you meet the minimum, free shipping is automatically added at checkout.
  • Pickup is available to Prime members in select cities at no additional cost and without an order minimum. Prime members in participating cities can choose a pickup location as their AmazonFresh account address, then reserve a time slot.

If you already submitted your order and would like to change delivery dates and times afterward, you can edit them through Order Details up until it starts processing. And if anything you ordered doesn't show up, you can request a refund from customer service in a process that lasts about 10 minutes beginning to end.

I bought groceries using AmazonFresh. The process was simple, foods were fresh, and I got add-ons that I didn't technically purchase. There was one item I didn't receive, but got a fast refund.

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Here's my order. I bought perishables, produce, and pantry staples — everything I'd typically buy at my local grocery store — through AmazonFresh.

Here's my order. I bought perishables, produce, and pantry staples — everything I'd typically buy at my local grocery store — through AmazonFresh.

I appreciated being able to buy a single cucumber online, the same as in person. Since I only cook for myself, it doesn't make sense to do my groceries in bulk, even though that means frequent, inconvenient walks to the store.

I ordered on Wednesday and picked an early time slot for an attended delivery (meaning I'd be home to receive it) on Thursday morning, the soonest available delivery that included all the items I wanted.

Since I ordered more than $35-worth of groceries before tax (the NYC threshold), my order had free delivery. I also added an additional tip for the delivery person.

Prices were competitive with my local options.

Prices were competitive with my local options.

In comparison to local grocery stores, the prices were better on AmazonFresh, though my neighborhood prices aren't typically cheap comparisons either. Since you're able to shop locally online through AmazonFresh, you'll generally see the same margin of savings.

I used FreshDirect, an NYC grocery delivery service, to compare a few items with pretty average local prices:

Organic blueberries
  • AmazonFresh: $5.99 for 16 ounces
  • FreshDirect: $12.99 for 18 ounces
Organic blackberries
  • AmazonFresh: $2.50 for 6 ounces
  • FreshDirect: $3.99 for 6 ounces
Unsweetened Oatmilk
  • AmazonFresh: $4.14
  • FreshDirect: $4.99

Here's how it was delivered:

Here's how it was delivered:

My order arrived within the timeframe chosen in these cardboard boxes, which were easy to fold down once my groceries were removed.

I received almost everything I ordered, as well as a few add-ons I didn't pay for. Quality was unanimously great.

I received almost everything I ordered, as well as a few add-ons I didn't pay for. Quality was unanimously great.

Everything arrived in the condition I'd expect — on par if not better than my standard local grocery store. However, my order of raspberries wasn't included. A container of six mini cucumbers and two water bottles were also included, even though I hadn't purchased them online.

Requesting a refund for my missing item was easy and fast.

Requesting a refund for my missing item was easy and fast.

I was able to request a refund for the missing item by chatting Amazon. Someone was immediately available on the line, and I had a refund issued within 10 minutes of beginning it.

I was given the option to get a refund or have the item sent to me, and a refund on my original card or on an Amazon gift card.

Produce was surprisingly fresher than what I've often bought at local grocery stores.

Produce was surprisingly fresher than what I've often bought at local grocery stores.

A common pushback against online grocery options is the idea that you want to touch and feel products like produce to make sure they're to your liking. But for someone like me whose busy schedule mirrors that of most other New Yorkers, the times I can get to the grocery store are often when my options are slimmest and the lines are the longest. At 7 p.m. on Tuesday when I need food for the week, the picked-over blueberries are a bit mushier than I'd typically choose to spend $6 on.

In this instance, AmazonFresh impressed me. The overall quality of the produce I got was above what I normally find in person — it was uniformly fresh, and neither bruised, mushy, or too ripe. Having said that, this may not be the case 100% of the time. Since you're not making the final call, there's still no guarantee.

The bottom line

All in all, it was a useful and reliable way to get all my groceries — not just pantry staples — delivered to my door. If the convenience of not shopping in person or the cumulative savings are valuable enough to pay $15 per month (plus an optional tip for the delivery person), this is a solid option. However, I did need to be flexible with some of my items (the raspberries). Getting a refund was easy, but you may not be willing to risk it if you're putting on something more formal than dinner for one.

At least for now, I plan to keep using the service post-trial for the reasons I've stated and because the Amazon interface has become so natural that I'm able to navigate through it quickly and efficiently. Plus, it's nice that it's all one billing system.

Still looking? Check out some other grocery delivery options like FreshDirect, Instacart, and Prime Pantry to see if one answers your needs better. Try AmazonFresh free for 30 days
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