One thing that we can all agree on is that life is crazy busy. Wouldn’t it be nice if you can just download an app, pick out your groceries, and get it delivered right to your door the same day?
I’ve got great news for you, it’s possible.
Only a quarter of consumers have tried an online grocery service in the past year, according to a new survey of more than 8,000 U.S. grocery shoppers completed by consulting group Bain & Co. in collaboration with Google.
If you aren’t using grocery delivery services like Amazon Fresh or Instacart, then you may be missing out on the convenience these services bring.
In this article, we will review two grocery delivery titans: Amazon Fresh vs Instacart.
What is Instacart?
Bottom line: Founded in 2012, Instacart is an American technology company valued at nearly $8 billion that operates as a same-day grocery delivery and pick-up service in the U.S. and Canada. You can have your groceries delivered in as little as one hour.
- All orders have a minimum of $10 with no delivery fee if the order exceeds $35.
- Instacart has an optional membership called Instacart+ ($99 per year / $10 per month), with unlimited free deliveries on orders exceeding $35.
- Orders placed without an Instacart+ membership incur a service fee of 5 percent of the order total with the minimum delivery fee starting at $3.99.
- One of the fastest grocery delivery services and you can have your groceries delivered in as little as two hours, or you can pick them up at your local store.
- Instacart serves over 4,000 cities, delivers from over 15,000 stores and partners with more than 300 retailers.
- Instacart has the ability to chat with the shopper and real-time updates.
- Many reviews state that the pricing may be higher than in-store retail costs and higher than Amazon Fresh.
- Many people claim that there are often missing items or poor substitutions.
- Many different fees to watch out for so the costs of using Instacart can quickly add up.
- Instacart uses a percentage-based service fee in place of list price markups, so the price can seem lower before you get to the checkout and see the fees get applied.
What is Amazon Fresh
Bottom Line: AmazonFresh customers in select cities can shop for groceries, everyday essentials, favorites from local shops and restaurants, and more with AmazonFresh. AmazonFresh offers Attended Delivery and Unattended Delivery, with Pickup options in select cities. You can check to see if Amazon Fresh is available in your area here.
Amazon Fresh costs
- Amazon Fresh is now FREE with your Prime membership. There is no longer an additional membership fee to get groceries delivered to your doorstep. It’s now another benefit that comes with your Prime membership. Prime is $119 per year or $12.99 per month.
- Starting Feb. 28, 2023, Amazon Fresh delivery orders under $150 will incur a service fee. Prime members will continue to receive free grocery delivery on orders more than $150. Delivery charges will be $3.95 for orders $100-$150, $6.95 for orders $50-$100, and $9.95 for orders under $50.
Amazon Fresh pros
- If you are already an Amazon Prime member, you have access to Amazon Fresh.
- Delivery times are super fast as quick as two hours from the time you order.
- You can order essentially everything you can get from your local Whole Foods from Amazon Fresh.
- You almost never encounter unavailable items when using Amazon Fresh. Instacart may require you to substitute items in the event of unavailable items which can cause delays.
- Packaged foods like chips or snacks are 10% to 30% cheaper than Instacart prices.
- Amazon Fresh prices in most areas are on par with nationwide grocery prices. However, some items (such as meats and dairy) typically are higher priced and can lead to a more expensive bill compared to in-store grocery shopping. However, prices are generally lower than Instacart.
Amazon Fresh cons
- The minimum order to avoid a delivery fee is $35 per order.
- You may not be in a city that Amazon Fresh currently delivers to. Amazon Fresh delivers to shoppers in Boston, Baltimore, Seattle, Stamford, Philadelphia, Dallas, Chicago, New York Metro, Northern Virginia, London and parts of California and New Jersey.
- You can’t use digital or paper coupons with your order.
- Convenience: You can place your order from any device, track its progress online and get your groceries without leaving your home.
- Same-Day Delivery: Amazon Fresh offers same-day and advanced scheduling for delivery. If you want same-day delivery, make sure that you order early. Otherwise, the time slot you want could be full, and you’ll have to wait.
- Organic Options: Because Amazon owns Whole Foods, the organic selection was pretty big. Organics included produce and packaged foods of all kinds.
Amazon Fresh vs Instacart: Availability
Your choice in the Amazon Fresh vs Instacart battle can easily be decided if one of them doesn’t service your zip code.
Amazon Fresh services shoppers in shoppers in Boston, Baltimore, Seattle, Stamford, Philadelphia, Dallas, Chicago, New York Metro, Northern Virginia, London and parts of California and New Jersey. However, Amazon Fresh has shut down in cities it used to operate in. The only way to know if Amazon Fresh is available in your city is to check the website.
Instacart is available in 4,000 cities in North America, more cities than Amazon Fresh.
Winner for Availability: Instacart
Amazon Fresh vs Instacart: Grocery Stores
Now, who wants to use a grocery delivery service that doesn’t partner up with your favorite retailers like Costco, Kroger, or Target?
Amazon Fresh only works with Whole Foods, which means you can select from discounted Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday items to help on savings.
Instacart takes the cake by partnering up with so many more stores such as Walmart, Aldi, Kroger, H-E-B, CVS, Publix, Food Lion, Costco, Sams Club, Petco and more.
You can see more retail partnerships in the graphic below.
Winner for Grocery Stores: Instacart
Amazon Fresh vs Instacart: Deals
Buying groceries can get expensive so you want a grocery delivery service that offers money-saving deals.
Both of Amazon Fresh and Instacart offer occasional promotional codes to use to save money on your order, which you can receive via email or through their social media pages.
In terms of membership and delivery fees, Instacart has the upper hand. As you can get same-day delivery or next-day delivery without any extra charges. Instacart has more membership options and optional Instacart+ membership. Instacart wins in terms of membership options and fees.
Winner for Deals: Instacart
Amazon Fresh vs Instacart: Customer Service
You will find that you use any food delivery service sometimes an item will be out of stock or you will need to reach customer service to file a remedy an issue.
Having responsive and helpful customer service is always important.
Amazon Fresh offers live customer support and the messaging assistant can quickly solve many issues or direct you to the right person or place. You can also submit a few details about your issue and then someone will call you right away. Amazon is known for putting the customer first and is very lenient with refunds and credits.
Instacart also has key lines of support with its help line (1-888-246-7822), email support ([email protected]) and in-app support.
Winner for Customer Support: Amazon Fresh
Which is Better?
Having used both grocery delivery services, Instacart wins hands down.
If Instacart isn’t available in your city then Amazon Fresh is also a great option or you can check other grocery delivery options.
While both of these companies get groceries delivered to your door, Instacart has a slight edge as the pricing and fees are better, and you don’t have to buy a membership to use it.
Want more grocery delivery reviews? Check out the following review articles:
How about you? Have you used either company? Who is your winner in the Amazon Fresh vs Instacart showdown?