I'm a sucker for new delivery services. Anything that can make life a bit more convenient for me will usually get a look and often becomes a part of my lifestyle. So when Amazon introduced its Prime Pantry service, a means for getting nonperishable food delivered for a small flat fee, I decided to give it a spin.
Prime Pantry is Amazon's latest service in their evolving experiments to simplify grocery delivery. While Amazon has mastered nearly every other category of products, groceries remains one area where most consumers will still go to a local store instead of ordering online. Prime Pantry likely won't change this behavior for most, but it may at least assist in shopping for staple items.
The premise is simple. Amazon Prime members can fill a large, 4 cubic foot box with up to 45 pounds of groceries for a flat $5.99 shipping fee. But why would you do this when you can get prime shipping for free? For me, the decision comes down to a couple of factors. For one, Prime Pantry lets me order single items compared with the bulk purchases that Amazon Prime normally requires. So I don't need to get 6 bags of potato chips, I can just get one. Also, having heavy cans and bottles shipped to my house means I can avoid a cab or two coming home from the grocery store and reserve these trips for meat, dairy, and other perishables.
Prices were similar to those found in a supermarket, though it helps to have a good grasp of grocery prices to know where the best deals can be found. As you fill your box, you are told how much of the box each item will fill. Small cans? 2 to 5 percent. A 24-pack of bottled water? roughly 65 percent. It may not make sense to order the latter online, but at least the option is there.
I ended up with a nearly full box with 22 items for about $60 including shipping. The shipping time was listed as 1-4 days, but I received my box overnight. With Amazon warehouses all over the country, I'd suspect 1-2 days would be the norm for most users.
The box was packed well, with two heavy-duty smaller boxes inside my large box. This provided plenty of reinforcement. It was evident that some thought was given as to how to best pack my items, as a bag of chips was surrounded by lots of other items and extra packing to prevent it from being crushed. A couple of cans had dents in them, though this wouldn't be a dealbreaker for me and it's hard to tell where this may have happened.
In conclusion, I'd use Prime pantry again, especially when my own pantry is running low and I need to refresh much of my stockpile. It was great to order single boxes of organic cereal and other items which are not as easy to find locally. The selection was weaker in some categories, but this is something I trust will improve over time. Amazon hasn't even publicly announced the service yet, so it's in a soft launch phase at the moment.
You can try out Prime Pantry for yourself and let us know what you think.Category: Articles
I started trying this over the weekend but have yet to actually place my order. I kept my grocery store web site open along side the Amazon site to do a comparison of prices, and for many items, I found that Amazon is actually cheaper. My grocery store delivers, but I have to have a minimum of $50 if I don't want to be assessed a shopping fee, and the delivery is $7.00. So, for many of these items, Amazon is actually a bit of a better deal for me. One advantage to my local store is that I can often get same-day delivery, but for the items that I'd get through Amazon, I think it could actually save a bit of money. I am a bit disappointed in the selection, but am also assuming that the selection will increase over time.
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J.J. Meddaugh is an experienced technology writer and computer enthusiast. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a major in telecommunications management and a minor in business. When not writing for Blind Bargains, he enjoys travel, playing the keyboard, and meeting new people.