Shopping for your weekly or monthly grocery haul from the comfort of your couch and having these items delivered to your doorstep is maybe one of the most practical modern conveniences society has developed—not to mention the most time-saving and just plain cool.
Whether you’re a working mom on the go or a college student who needs to devote every spare minute to studying, there’s no denying that grocery delivery services like Instacart and Amazon Fresh make our lives so much easier. If you happen to also be a pet parent, be sure to check out our blog post comparing Chewy vs Amazon.
But which service is best: Instacart or Amazon Fresh?
Below, we’ll outline all the details of using Instacart vs Amazon Fresh, from the perks you get with both to the different fees you’ll face. Read on.
Everything to Know About Instacart
Founded in 2012, Instacart is a grocery delivery service that partners with a smattering of grocery store chains including Aldi, Costco, Kroger, Publix, and Sam’s Club, as well as smaller, local grocers and shops.
Here, we’ll break down the basics of Instacart:
- Consumer Friendliness
In addition to the price of your groceries, you’ll be paying one or more fees to Instacart for the cost of using their service.
Instacart delivery fees start at $3.99 for same-day delivery of orders of $35 or more. All delivery orders must meet a minimum of $10.
Other delivery fees may include:
- One-hour delivery fee
- Fee for deliveries under $35
- Club store delivery fee
- Heavy fee — applies to cases of beverages and pet food; fee is applied if total combined weight is above 50 pounds
Instacart also charges service fees.
The service fee, according to Instacart, “helps support the Instacart platform and covers a broad range of operations costs including shopper operations, insurance, background checks, and customer support.”
The price of the service fee varies depending on your location and the number and type of items in your cart. Additional service fees include:
- Long-distance fee if you are located 30-60 minutes away from the retailer
- Alcohol service fee
Instacart Express Members will pay a reduced service fee, and there is no fee associated with pickup orders.
The tip your Instacart shopper receives is not included in any fees, so you’ll want to be sure to do this separately.
Instacart is available in many cities across the U.S. and Canada, but some rural areas may not have access to this service yet. You can check if Instacart is available to you by visiting their locations page online.
With Instacart, you can schedule your delivery window up to two weeks in advance, and you can get same-day delivery in two hours. The hours of delivery depend entirely on which store you’re ordering from.
How Consumer Friendly is Instacart?
Instacart does not require a membership, which may be a boon for many buyers.
There is a subscription option for frequent Instacart users called Instacart Express which is available for $9.99 a month or $99 a year. This option offers free delivery on orders over $35 and reduced service fees.
On the downside, items purchased through Instacart may be more expensive than if they were purchased directly from the store. The perks of convenience may outweigh this negative for many shoppers, though.
Instacart also gives shoppers access to a variety of stores. Depending on your location, you may be able to order from big-name grocery chains, plus specialty shops, convenience stores, pet stores, pharmacies, and more.
Everything to Know About Amazon Fresh
Amazon Fresh is a grocery shopping delivery service available to Amazon Prime members that was first launched in 2007. Amazon Fresh sources from Whole Foods stores as well as from local Amazon warehouses.
Let’s break down the basics of Amazon Fresh:
- User Friendliness
Amazon Fresh Cost
Unlike Instacart, this grocery delivery service is a bit more exclusive. Only Amazon Prime members can use Amazon Fresh—an Amazon Prime membership is about $13 a month, $119 a year.
If you’re a Prime Member, there’s no additional subscription fee to grocery shop, though you may need to pay a delivery fee. Orders under $35 will have a delivery fee up to $10 tacked on, while orders over $35 have no delivery charge.
Amazon Fresh Availability
Amazon Fresh is only available for Amazon Prime members in select cities. To see if you are in the Amazon Fresh service range, enter your zip code in the Amazon Fresh website.
Amazon Fresh Delivery
With Amazon Fresh, you can choose the day and time you want your order to be delivered. You can also choose same-day delivery and have an order be delivered within two hours with no delivery fee.
Unlike the Instacart app, you can only schedule your order up to a few days in advance, not two weeks.
How Consumer Friendly is Amazon Fresh?
Depending on where you live, you may be able to take advantage of Key by Amazon, which allows your Amazon Fresh personal shopper access to your garage so your groceries can sit safe even if you’re not at home.
You can also cancel or add items to your Amazon fresh order up until the shopper begins to fulfill your order, with no additional fees.
Deciding Between Instacart vs Amazon Fresh
Popular grocery delivery services Instacart and Amazon Fresh both have pros and cons. Choosing which online grocery delivery service is best for you really depends on where you live, what kind of products you’re looking to buy, and whether or not you’re an Amazon Prime member.
For instance, if you frequently shop from a variety of stores (like Publix, Walgreens, and Costco) for your groceries and household essentials, Instacart may be the service that makes the most sense for you.
On the other hand, if you are already an Amazon Prime member and like the idea of having no delivery fee (for orders over $35) for your local grocery store items, Amazon Fresh could be calling your name.
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