Amazon Fresh vs. Prime Now: Managing Your Subscription

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Imagine never having the visit the grocery store again. It can be your reality. Perhaps this doesn’t appeal to city-dwellers who live across the street from a grocer, but if you’re looking for a way to save time or avoid a tedious trip into town to stock the fridge, Amazon has you covered.

As you know, the overgrown bookseller offers two different grocery delivery options. Amazon Fresh is a subscription-based service, and Prime Now is a Prime member perk designed more for ad-hoc orders. So which is better and how should you use them? That depends on what you’re trying to get from the service. Let’s step into the Amazon Fresh vs. Prime Now debate.

Amazon Prime Now

Amazon Prime is Jeff Bezos’ clandestine method of getting everyone’s mailing address so when he runs for president, he knows where to find you.

OK, sort of joking there.

If you place around 10 orders a year or more, you probably have Amazon Prime. The service offers free shipping and a host of other perks, one of which is the Prime Now delivery service.

Prime Now offers a selection of common grocery items that include domestic supplies, and in some places, alcohol. Fresh meat, dairy and produce are available, but be aware that some or all of it will come from Amazon’s recently acquired Whole Foods line of stores, which can be costly. In some places, you can get electronics and even restaurant food.

As a Prime user you receive discounts on Whole Foods items, but expect to pay around a 25% premium compared to the Amazon Fresh service or just visiting a grocery store.

If you need something in a pinch, Prime Now is a great service because there’s no delivery fee. However, the higher price you pay for convenience negates that benefit when you compare Prime Now to Amazon Fresh as a regular means of getting groceries.

We also noticed that people consistently reported receiving low-quality produce from Prime Now, which doesn’t allow you to specify ripeness. Thankfully, it offers simple, instant returns.

Finally, Prime Now does not get the benefit of protection from Amazon’s handy insulated bags, which are used to deliver Amazon Fresh orders.

Amazon Fresh

Fresh might seem like the underdog at first, but a glance at the difference in variety and price will confirm that this is the better solution for those who want prearranged grocery delivery.

There is a much larger selection of items, stocked from local grocers as well as Whole Foods, which allows for lower prices and lets you be a more particular shopper.

You have to pay about $15 per month for the service, and there is a fee if your purchase fails to satisfy the free delivery price requirement. However, at between $35-$50 depending on location, that shouldn’t be too difficult for most people.

Amazon Fresh offers much more competitive prices than Prime Now when compared to your average grocery store. It has a handy dashboard that allows you to quickly reorder items to further expedite the shopping process. For those who are interested in reclaiming some time, the membership fee is definitely worth the number of precious minutes you will save.

You can select a specific delivery date and time—although these can vary slightly depending on driver availability—and your order will come in fun, squishy insulated Amazon bags that you absolutely should not claim for yourself to use as budget coolers.

In our research, produce ordered from Fresh didn’t suffer the same inconsistencies as that ordered from Prime, although there is still no way to request a specific level of ripeness. All things considered, Fresh is the clear option for household fridge administrators, whereas Prime Now is a quick way to have pizza and beer at your door when you completely spaced on it before the big game.

They’re both great services, but they have different target audiences. Which one do you prefer? We won’t tell Jeff, but then again, he doesn’t need our help.

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