Amazon’s online grocery delivery service hits Dallas

Amazon may be experimenting with how to take on grocery stores via its own drive-in pick-up locations, but in the meantime, the company is still working to expand its online grocery shopping service, AmazonFresh. Following the recent price drop to $14.99/month for Prime members – a more palatable charge than the earlier $299/year, AmazonFresh has today set up shop in Dallas, Texas and the surrounding metro areas.

The move is notable because AmazonFresh has been fairly slow to expand, since its 2007 launch in the Seattle region. It continued testing in the area until 2013, when it started to move into other markets, like L.A and San Francisco.

By adding a couple of new cities per year, the service has slowly grown, and now has a footprint in Baltimore, Boston, parts of California (L.A., Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, and Stockton), the New York metro, parts of Northern New Jersey and Trenton, the Philadelphia metro, Northern Virginia, and Stamford, CT, in addition to Seattle, London, and now, Dallas.

But this year alone, Amazon has tackled some fairly sizable markets with the launches in London and Boston. Adding on a third market before year-end indicates increased momentum for Amazon’s Instacart competitor.

The delivery service allows shoppers to order groceries online, including fresh and frozen items, then request either same-day or next-day delivery, depending on when they place the order. (Morning orders can be delivered the same evening.) The service also allows shoppers to select attended or unattended delivery – the latter meaning that groceries are left on the doorstep in refrigerated bags to keep items cool.

Customers in regions where AmazonFresh is supported can shop for groceries from the main Amazon app, and they can try it for free for 30 days before committing to the additional $14.99 per month subscription fee. The code FRESH25 also offers a $25 per off discount on orders over $75 as an additional lure to try the new service.

In the Dallas region, Amazon is working with area retailers through its Local Market program, which allows customers to shop from speciality stores like Local Yocal, V+V Apothicaire, Scardello Cheese and others. These items are delivered as part of customers’ AmazonFresh orders, the company says.

Grocery delivery is a challenging business to make economically viable, given the need to keep products fresh. Instacart and others tackle this problem via an on-demand workforce who shops for customers as orders are placed, but Instacart has had to cut pay for workers as it tries to scale. Amazon, meanwhile, has set up refrigerated warehouses in the areas it wants to serve, and has stricter rules regarding its same-day delivery windows.

In addition to Dallas proper, AmazonFresh’s new expansion includes the surrounding areas of: Mesquite, University Park, Garland, Duncanville, Lancaster, DeSoto, Cedar Hill, Arlington, Grand Prairie, Farmers Branch, Carrollton, Richardson, Piano, The Colony, Frisco, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Southlake, Irving, Fort Worth, Watauga, Burleson, and elsewhere.

The service is live now in these regions.