AmazonFresh, Amazon’s grocery delivery service which lets customers shop for both fresh produce and other packaged goods, is now being made available to Amazon Prime members in select markets for a $7.99 per delivery fee, on top of their $99 per year Amazon Prime membership. This is a new pricing tier for AmazonFresh, and one that may make the service more palatable to a wider array of customers. Previously, the cost for an AmazonFresh Prime membership was a much steeper $299 per year, though the push to upgrade to this tier had recently been delayed.
The two pricing plans are already live on the AmazonFresh website ahead of any official announcement. Here, the retailer explains that Prime members who pay $99 per year to participate in Amazon’s long-running membership rewards program can now pay for AmazonFresh on a per-order basis. On orders over $50, the cost per delivery is $7.99, the site says.
Meanwhile, the older $299-a-year pricing plan called “Prime Fresh” is also still available, which includes free delivery on orders over $50. Amazon suggests that customers who shop for groceries twice or more per month should consider trying Prime Fresh.
Regardless of the pricing plan selected, AmazonFresh customers will receive the same benefits, including the ability to order from over a million “everyday essentials,” including things like milk, fresh vegetables and fruits, frozen foods, prepared foods, canned and packaged goods, household items, health and beauty products, beverages and more.
These items can be ordered both online or through the AmazonFresh mobile apps, and can be delivered to customers’ doorsteps either same-day or next day. In some cases, customers can also order from local shops and restaurants when using AmazonFresh. For example, when the service expanded to Brooklyn in October, it included the option to order from local retailers like The Lobster Place, Dickenson’s Farmstand Meats, Gotham Greens, and Amy’s Bread.
AmazonFresh subscribers also receive all Prime benefits, including the free two-day shipping on millions of items, Prime Music, Prime Instant Video, Kindle Lending Library access and more.
Today, AmazonFresh is available in select zip codes within the New York metro area, Philadelphia metro area, Seattle, and both Northern and Southern California.
However, the pricing plan which allows Prime members to try the service without the more expensive AmazonFresh subscription is currently showing up only for those in California.
An Amazon spokesperson confirmed that the new option was introduced on Tuesday, but declined to provide further information.
In the other regions, the site instead notes that AmazonFresh is still free to all Prime members through September, after which they’ll be asked to sign up for the “upgraded tier of Amazon Prime,” which refers to the $299 annual fee.
As you may recall, in May, Amazon said it was extending the deadline to upgrade to AmazonFresh to June, following its tests in Seattle, New York and Philadelphia. However, it appears that deadline has been pushed back again – now to September – as Amazon tries out this new, reduced pricing plan across supported zip codes in California.
The company today delivers to several large Californian cities, including San Francisco, L.A. and San Diego.
Amazon’s interest in expanding AmazonFresh comes at a time when a number of competitors are offering similar options for online grocery shopping, including grocery delivery services like Instacart and Peapod, traditional grocery chain Safeway, and even Walmart, which is today testing grocery pickup and delivery in a number of U.S. states. By making AmazonFresh orders a Prime benefit along with a small delivery fee, the company has a better chance of competing with newcomers like Instacart, which today offers lower delivery thresholds and fees (though sometimes marks up its goods to make up for that), as well as its own $99 per year subscription service.