Who loves AmazonFresh?

I’ve been experimenting with online grocery shopping since the mid-1990s with Peapod (started in 1989 as a dial-up service; see also company’s history page).

Amazon does everything better than everyone else, so we decided to try out AmazonFresh recently.

Late 1990s:

  • Open web browser
  • build up shopping cart on Peapod web site by browsing pages organized by category
  • build up shopping cart on Peapod web site based on a previous order
  • build up shopping cart on Peapod web site based on a saved shopping list
  • pick a delivery time for the next day
  • check out

2017:

  • Open web browser
  • build up shopping cart on Amazon web site by browsing pages organized by category
  • build up shopping cart on Amazon web site based on a previous order (except not nearly as efficiently, since items need to be added one a time)
  • build up shopping cart on Amazon web site based on a saved shopping list
  • pick a delivery time for the current day
  • discover that no same-day delivery slots are available
  • pick a delivery time for the next day

Avocados have been in short supply lately and the Peruvian-grown ones at Costco are kind of tasteless, so we ordered four “ready to eat” avocados from AmazonFresh. One of them was actually arguably “ready to eat,” but the others needed a couple more days. The greenhouse tomatoes were pretty good and also the organic nectarines.

Everything showed up on time and as ordered. The delivery driver was not as excited to meet Mindy the Cippler as Mindy was to meet her. We were left with a couple of sizable and un-foldable insulated totes that we’re supposed to give back next time (with Peapod, everything is unloaded on a countertop and the packaging taken away).

So the service works reasonably well, but so does Peapod (and has for nearly 30 years). What is Amazon adding?

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8 Comments

  1. dean

    July 7, 2017 @ 1:44 pm

    1

    Since Blue Origin has lost to Space X I just prefer making only Bill Gates rich. As of recent Amazon has pretty mediocre service that is easily outperformed by the likes of wallmart.com . Same for AWS. I like desktop office but rooting for MS cloud business. AWS is not up to the task.

  2. Anonymous

    July 7, 2017 @ 1:51 pm

    2

    Avacadoes can be rippened fast by putting them in a small paper bag and closing it. Then put the bag in the sun for a while. They will get soft fast.

  3. jerry

    July 7, 2017 @ 3:52 pm

    3

    > What is Amazon adding?

    What is Amazon adding to whom?

    I think a lot of folks will try this because they see it on Amazon’s website, and because they can expect a certain level of low risk trying it with Amazon and backed up Amazon’s customer service.

    > Amazon does everything better than everyone else

    I don’t think that’s been true for quite awhile. ymmv.

    Amazon may be great for the investor, but consumers, sellers, all regularly complain of disappointing products, prices, arrival times, …

    They seem to be good at

    + leveraging scale
    + logistics up until the last mile
    + leveraging robotics
    + customer service up until they decide you are no longer profitable

    I can understand Amazon wanting your grocery dollars and wanting to provide delivery for that, I don’t understand why Amazon is competing for door dash, uber eats, for restaurant delivery where most of the value would seem to be captured by the producer and the basic delivery process seem to have linear costs and not scale.

  4. dean

    July 7, 2017 @ 4:33 pm

    4

    Amazon has terrible customer service and cancels good deal orders unilaterally without email notification! Amazon ‘Prime’ is a way to pay Jeff for nothing and lock yourself out from competitive local department store offers – to save, since you already paying for ‘free’ delivery.

  5. The Practical Conservative

    July 7, 2017 @ 7:11 pm

    5

    Amazon Fresh is for places where the only other grocery delivery option is Safeway which is significantly worse than either Amazon Fresh or Peapod. Compared to that low bar, they perform very well. As with punk rock, they offered screaming good deals and amazingly prompt service when they were only in a couple very select areas, but now that they’re expanding, they sold out man and it’s just not as good. But certainly better than driving to get the groceries yourself or crying because Safeway was out of everything but an empty paper sack.

    They also stack well in urban areas where Amazon services like one hour Prime Now are available and that’s the other reason for Amazon Fresh, to get that kind of customer to keep spending with Amazon.

    Instacart is moving in on Amazon’s grocery delivery territory, but I haven’t tried it yet, so I can’t compare. Peapod sounds pretty decent though.

  6. GermanL

    July 8, 2017 @ 3:48 am

    6

    Peter Schiff also recently questioned the added value offered by companies like Blue Apron (a meal kit delivery company – they deliver recipes with all the exact ingredients to your house):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sgaBa2y4Pc&feature=youtu.be&t=364

    They had a luke-warm IPO and now the stock is down 25% from the initial.
    The problem for them is that they don’t hold anything proprietary – you can get recipes from anywhere. So anybody can enter the market and clobber them (eg. Amazon or your local grocer for that matter – btw not smart to IPO after Amazon bought Whole Foods!). Yet the company was seeking $3 billion valuation – for mailing groceries. It’s been losing money (only 60% of customers stay subscribed).

    As Peter Schiff said, all you need at this point is a sock puppet.

  7. The Practical Conservative

    July 8, 2017 @ 9:07 pm

    7

    The meal kit delivery is about supposedly making it possible for non-cooks with busy lives to prep meals that sound impressive and taste decent in 30 minutes or less. Some of the more adventurous services advertise prep and cooking taking 30 minutes or less.

  8. jerry

    July 9, 2017 @ 3:42 am

    8

    > The meal kit delivery is about supposedly making it possible for non-cooks with busy lives to prep meals that sound impressive and taste decent in 30 minutes or less. Some of the more adventurous services advertise prep and cooking taking 30 minutes or less.

    No joke, but I think that Amazon Fresh Delivery, maybe a drone or two, an KitchenAid or Black & Decker branded Lego MindStorm Kitchen Robots is going to do away with a lot of prep work in the next 10 years.

    You’re at work, order from Amazon the ingredients for a meal, it arrives at your house, is accepted at a special robot delivery doggy door, and, and a Lego Mindstorm KitchenAid Robot find the tomatoes and slices them, finds the garlic and crushes it, dices the onion, etc.

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