7 Things to Know About Using Amazon Fresh

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  • Amazon Prime members can get grocery deliveries through Amazon Fresh.
  • The order and delivery process are similar to what you see on regular Amazon orders, with a few differences.

Before you place your first Amazon Fresh order, here's everything you need to know.

Amazon offers affordable and fast grocery deliveries through its Amazon Fresh service. It has hundreds of thousands of products, so it works well whether you use it for smaller orders or for all your weekly grocery shopping. Amazon Fresh is easy to use, with the same design as Amazon, but there are some things you should know first.

1. It's only available in large cities

Amazon has only rolled out Amazon Fresh in select cities so far, concentrating on major metro areas. To find out if it's available in your area, visit the Amazon Fresh website.

If you're already logged in to your Amazon account, the site will automatically let you know if Amazon Fresh delivers to the address you have on file. Otherwise, click the "Deliver to" option in the upper-left corner of the screen, and then enter your ZIP code. If delivery isn't available, a pop-up box will appear to let you know.

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2. It's included with a Prime membership

The great thing about Amazon Fresh, at least if you're a Prime member, is that it's included with your Prime membership. In fact, only Prime members have access to Amazon Fresh. That includes those with an Amazon Prime student membership, but not those who only have Amazon Prime Video.

The current cost of Amazon Prime is $14.99 per month, or $139 per year. If you're debating signing up, make sure to check out all the perks of Amazon Prime to see what it offers. You can also get a free month of Amazon Prime to try it out, as long as you haven't been a member in the last 12 months.

3. Food quality is competitive with grocery stores

All the convenience of grocery delivery goes out the window if the food is spoiled or doesn't taste good. Other services, like Instacart, deliver from local grocery stores, so you already know what kind of quality to expect. Amazon Fresh is different, as it delivers from local Amazon warehouses.

Even though the delivery isn't coming from a grocery store, the food is the same quality as what you'd find in stores. I've placed dozens of orders, and I've never had anything arrive spoiled. Prices are also reasonable, so Amazon Fresh is also a good option if you're trying to spend less on groceries.

4. Deliveries that meet the order threshold are free

In eligible areas, Amazon Fresh offers free two-hour delivery if your order is over $35. In its other service areas, it offers free two-hour delivery if your order is over $50. Amazon lets you know the threshold for free delivery in your area as you shop.

Two-hour delivery means that delivery takes place within a two-hour window, such as 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. One-hour delivery is also available, but it costs extra. Amazon lets you select a delivery window during the checkout process.

5. Order early if you want same-day delivery

One thing I've learned as I've used Amazon Fresh is that delivery windows can fill up quickly. Whenever possible, I recommend placing your order at least six hours before you need it.

Sometimes last-minute orders are an option, and they're often available if you're willing to pay extra for a one-hour delivery window. But if you don't want to pay extra, it's best to err on the side of caution.

For example, sometimes I've been able to place orders at 1 p.m. for a 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. delivery. On the other hand, there have been times I placed orders later in the afternoon and no more two-hour windows were open that day, or there was only a very late (10 p.m. to 12 a.m.) option.

6. Use an Amazon credit card to get the most cash back

The best way to pay for Amazon Fresh orders is the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card. It earns 5% cash back on Amazon purchases, which include Amazon Fresh purchases. I haven't found any credit cards offering more than that. This card also doesn't have an annual fee.

7. You don't need to be home for the delivery

If none of the delivery windows work for you, Amazon Fresh also offers some alternatives. Doorstep deliveries are available, provided your order doesn't contain any age-restricted items, like alcohol. Packaging is designed to maintain correct product temperatures in transit, but Amazon recommends retrieving doorstep deliveries as soon as you can.

You can also request that the driver leave your order with a door attendant or security guard at your building. To do so, provide instructions in the delivery instructions box that's available during the checkout process.

Everything on Amazon Fresh is pretty straightforward, especially if you're already an Amazon shopper. It's the same order process, just with food and a delivery window of your choosing.

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