Amazon Prime Now: Can it replace Supermarkets for Food?

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by Nimrod, May 13, 2016.

  1. Nimrod

    Nimrod Exotic Vendor

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    So browsing Amazon a few weeks ago I noticed the big banner 'Amazon Prime Now' available in the South East of England. It looks like it’s finally available to those of us outside London, including large parts of the South and North of England.

    Amazon Prime Now is Amazon's flagship service for ordering items for people who subscribed to Amazon Prime (currently standing at £79 a year; which includes Amazon Prime Shipping, Amazon Video, Amazon Music and a Kindle Book Library). Amazon have been trying to drive growth in the Prime Service; and it looks like finally they may have hit the big one. Providing the item or items are available in your local depo; Amazon can deliver it within 1 hour from order (at a cost, currently £6!); but more importantly, within a 2 hour window for free.

    The 2 hour window process works like such, the whole day from 8am till Midnight is split into 2 hour slots, set up as 8-10, 10-12 and so forth. You can make an order up to 30 minutes before the slot is due to send, and your items will be included in it. So if you play it cleverly and order at say just before 5:30pm, you order will be on its way to you at 6pm. I’ve made a few orders and got them in less than 45 minutes at no charge.

    There is one rather weird downside to Amazon Prime Now though; you can’t order it on the traditional website. You have to download the iOS or Android application and log into it with your Amazon account. Honestly this makes no sense to me, say I’m purchasing a copy of Doom from Amazon.co.uk; by default as a Prime Member I will get the usual options of Evening Delivery (if ordered before 1pm), or next day. It makes no mention of Amazon Prime Now. I would have to separately open up the App; and see if my local depo has Doom in stock and order it through Amazon Prime Now. So right now Amazon has a conflicting service; where everytime I order from Amazon I have to check both there website and the Amazon Prime Now app before I make an order. I hope in time Amazon realises how silly this is, and supports ordering from Amazon Prime Now from the website (or at least; a nice notification when ordered that the item is in your local Depo and can be ordered from the App).

    But moving on from that; the biggest part of Amazon Prime Now though which I think very few people know about is its Grocery shopping. You heard me, the items you pick up at your local supermarkets like Tesco are available on Amazon Prime. I’m not even joking; Fresh Fruit and Veg, Chilled, Frozen, Toiletries. The Lot.

    The idea of going to the supermarket; doing a weekly shop and dragged it home just seems so old fashioned. I’m a young professional; I’ll be honest that I hate nothing more than a weekly shopping trip. I put it off as much as possible; and I rush around when I do because I find nothing more hateful than going round a supermarket packed full of people. To resolve this, the big supermarkets did online shopping which while being great; seemed really backwards. Take Tesco’s for example; you have to order one day at a minimum before your shopping delivery day; that’s assume they have any slots left. If not, you could be ordering days in advanced. To top it off; you pay for delivery (some slots cost up to £4!); and you can’t guarantee you get the items you want. On the site they offer every item your local store sells; but don’t take into account stock availability. So you could order Banana’s, and find Apples instead. It’s a joke. One of the nice points of Amazon is the stock is real time; if Crumpets are for sale; it means they have stock. They also won’t let you order more than they have in stock.

    Let's talk about Prices. This one I think is key for the service. So it doesn't have your traditional BOGOF, or multibuy discounts or buy this and get that free like your traditional supermarket. But instead it has (which I prefer); damn good prices. I mean; one example. A giant box of Cornflakes, Tesco's and Morrisons sell it for something like £3.79. Amazon had it for £2.50. Crumpets; 50p for a pack, vs £1.20 in supermarkets. Toilet Roll, half the price. The prices are good. Now a lot of this comes down to Amazon's 'Tax Status' I'm sure; but ultimately in difficult times like we are now in; it's hard to say no to Amazon's lower prices.

    On terms of Availability; Amazon has a big range (well; maybe it depends on area as I can only speak for the South East of the UK). But I had no problem finding my favourite loaf of bread, eggs, milk, cereal, toiletries the lot. The one downside I guess in this; is Amazon doesn’t realty do its 'own brand' food; however that's likely to change down the road due to recent news that Morrisons is about to sell its own label goods wholesale into Amazon Prime Now. One funny thing I did notice is the fruit and veg goes under the brand 'Independent' and when you read the packaging it says 'Thanks for supporting local businesses' which is ironic considering Amazon is anything but local.

    There are however a few downsides to Amazon Prime Now; Fresh Meat is almost non-existent which I can understand so it still makes the need to visit your local express store needed. However being able to do all your weekly shopping on demand, and getting it 2 hours later means you don’t have to visit the big stores again. Another weird downside to Amazon Prime Now is by default; you tip the drivers £2 per order; added at the end. This makes no sense; maybe in the US where tipping is common practice. However over here; the idea of tipping a delivery driver who’s just doing their job is a rather strange concept. I don't tip the postman, I don’t tip Parcelforce. Heck; I rarely tip a takeaway (unless they literally were epic). It’s an issue I’m hoping goes away; and not Amazon’s attempt to make us pay their drivers a living wage (they should be paying them a good fair price for it). The good news is the tip can be removed at checkout which I do every time. The app warns you that you cannot tip the drivers cash or anything but I’ve ignored that. One of the guys that delivered not only brought all the shopping up the stairs (I live in a block of Flats); but actually went ahead put them in the kitchen; and was REALLY friendly. I gave him a few pounds cash tip and said keep it and tell no one :)

    Personally though, I don’t fill comfortable tipping as 'standard', and I don’t understand why Amazon Prime Now expects it; and also does it before it got delivered. Surely it should be a pop up once you have ordered ‘Would you like to tip the driver?’ after delivery. Some of the drivers haven’t been as friendly, one even dropped it at the bottom of the stairs (and thankfully got no tip!)

    In terms of delivery; you get a nice notification when your order is out for delivery; you can even track the driver in real time which is brilliant! If you ever got a delivery from DPD; it’s a bit like that. You also get another notification when the driver is 10 minutes away so you can get ready. The shopping itself arrives in nice big brown paper bags (very American); which is great. It’s split into three; Ambient, Chilled and Frozen; and the trade hands you the bags and gets a signature (if there’s Alcohol or other age restricted products) and is on his way.

    To Summarise; For anyone who lives in an area serviced by Amazon Prime Now, I can honestly say it’s worth a try. I now use it extensively; I don't go to the big stores anymore. I combine Amazon Prime Now with my local Express store (for things like Fresh Meats) and I’ve got everything I need. My food shopping bill is down a third; I'm getting much better service and I can order my shopping around my life; instead of like with the traditional supermarkets where you do it around their old 'slot' system. Right now Amazon are running a promotion for £10 off your first order over £30; so why not give it a go and let us know your thoughts below?
     
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  2. Rockman

    Rockman Godlike

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    Amazon normally has great prices for everything except food, well, there are exceptions but not that often. I personally would rather visit LIDL and Aldi due to the food and prices, plus, would rather just get it myself in this case.
     

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