Fun fact. I’ve been online grocery shopping for over ten years. My husband used to think it was crazy until he took a trip to the market and was in line for 20 minutes while a woman argued with the cashier over cherries.
Online grocery shopping is very convenient. There’s nothing better than sitting on your couch and ordering your food. Although convenience often comes with a cost, over time, retailers have caught on to the growing demand, and prices are comparable to that of your local brick and mortar stores.
It is challenging to know which retailer is best with so many options. This article compares two giants, Amazon Fresh Vs. Instacart. Both are available nationwide and have pros and cons.
Want to learn about the differences in cost, selection, and delivery of Amazon Fresh vs. Instacart?
Let’s go to The Chalkboard.
Some of the links below are affiliate links which means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase. I would never recommend a service or product I do not stand behind.
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What Is Amazon Fresh?
Amazon Fresh is the grocery delivery service of the giant retailer. The benefit is free for Prime members.
Amazon Fresh is NOT the same as Whole Foods; they are separate services. Whole Foods delivery is available in some areas for an additional fee. There is a separate fee if you wish to order from Whole Foods and have it delivered.
How Does Amazon Fresh Work?
You place your order through their website, and upon checkout, you pick a two-hour window for delivery. You don’t need to be home when the food arrives; it’s left where you indicated.
After placing your order, Amazon employees fulfill it at a regional fulfillment center. Delivery drivers then bring it to your home. There is no separate delivery fee, but Amazon adds a tip for the driver to the final cost. You can change the amount up to 24 hours after receiving your order.
Amazon Fresh is NOT the same as Instacart.
What is Instacart?
Instacart is another delivery service; Amazon does not own it. It is a privately held company founded by Brandon Leonardo, Apoorva Mehta, and Max Mullen. Mehta was previously an engineer at Amazon.
How Does Instacart Work?
Instacart hires independent contractors to deliver your food. You place an order, and then an Instacart worker goes to the store and shops for you. As they are shopping, they will contact you with any questions about your order. Specifically, if an item is out of stock, they will ask if you want a substitution. The worker then delivers it to you. Delivery is contactless, so there is no need to be home.
The Best Grocery Delivery Service 2022 – Amazon Fresh Vs. Instacart
So how do these two services stack up against one another? We compared the selection, cost, delivery, and overall experience of Amazon Fresh vs. Instacart.
Amazon Fresh Vs. Instacart— Selection
Both services have a wide variety of products. When you choose Instacart, you select the store you want the shopper to visit, so you have access to all of their products.
Amazon has access to thousands of products, and their Happy Belly brand has excellent products are reasonable prices. The one thing that stands out for Fresh is their inventory management system allows them to track items carefully. This system means fewer items out of stock for consumers. You cannot say the same for Instacart. Since the shopper is heading to the store, you won’t know if something is available until they are on site.
Winner – Slight Edge to Amazon Fresh
Amazon Fresh Vs. Instacart — Delivery
Both services show when deliveries are available on the homepage. Neither is accurate. Both offer contactless delivery, which is excellent. Amazon has a two-hour delivery window, typically within one or two days. Instacart is available the same day.
Winner – Instacart with same-day delivery consistently available
Amazon Fresh Vs. Instacart — Cost
Comparing the costs of the two services is not a simple comparison. If you want a deep analysis, check out our price comparison article.
Amazon Fresh is a benefit included with Prime membership, which costs $119 a year. You can sign up for a month of Prime for just $3 here.
There are no membership fees with Instacart. But Instacart has additional costs that quickly add up through service and other fees. Plus, Instacart charges higher prices than what you would pay in-store.
According to the company, “While many retailers offer everyday store prices* on Instacart, some retailers may set prices on the Instacart platform that are different than in-store prices.”
I could never find which retailers charge more on their products, nor could I find the amount.
Also, when your shopper makes substitutes for you, they aren’t indicating the change in cost. Therefore, it is difficult to know how much your final bill will be. Prices will often be more significant than initially intended. Amazon Fresh is NOT more expensive, especially after all of Instacart’s fees. Plus, overall, their products were cheaper.
Winner – Amazon Fresh has fewer fees and more straightforward pricing
Which Grocery Service Is Right For You?
So with Amazon Fresh having a slight edge over Instacart, which service is good for you? Let’s break it down.
Who Is Amazon Fresh Good For?
Amazon Fresh is great for Prime members that will use its benefits or grocery shops online a lot. More orders lower the cost per use of the membership.
The service is also suitable for people that plan. You aren’t often able to get same-day delivery, so if you can wait a day or two for your groceries, Fresh is a great option.
Who Should NOT Use Amazon Fresh?
If you aren’t going to use the additional Prime benefits or grocery shop online often, Fresh is not for you. The $119 a year is a lot for just a few orders.
Also, if you grocery shop when your refrigerator is bare and needs food ASAP, Fresh is not suitable for you as you often have to wait for delivery.
Who Is Instacart Good For?
If you need items quickly and want to shop at a specific store, Instacart is the way to go. Most of the time, you can get delivery within a few hours.
Who Should NOT Use Instacart?
If you cannot be near your phone while your shopper is at the store, Instacart is not suitable for you. They will often reach out to you with substitute questions and other order-related issues and need responses ASAP.
If you closely watch your grocery budget, Instacart is not the way to go. Their fees and costs are high, and it is difficult to determine the final bill until the shopper has checked out.
What Do You Think?
Have you tried these services? How was your experience? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to hear!
Whichever service you choose, check out these money-saving tips.
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