Amazon’s free, 2-hour delivery service may be its secret weapon for grocery domination — here’s what it’s like to use

Amazon Prime Now is convenient in the right situations.

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Amazon Prime Now is convenient in the right situations.
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Getty/Eamonn M. McCormack

  • Amazon Prime Now is Amazon’s two-hour delivery service available in 50 cities around the world. It’s free for Prime members.
  • It offers staples, groceries, and seasonal merchandise delivered from hubs near in the centers of major metropolises.
  • I tested it earlier this year and found it was a bit more expensive than I expected and not as quick as I had hoped.
  • However, I used the service again recently while sick, and I now understand the value of the service when homebound or just too busy to go shopping.

Amazon Prime Now is a service that promises a lot.

Free delivery (for Prime members) in two hours for a wide variety of seasonal goods, food staples, and every-day items sounds too good to be true. And when I tried it earlier this year, I wasn’t completely sold on it. It took too long, was too expensive for such small orders when factoring in a tip, and I thought wasn’t worth it.

But then I decided to give Prime Now another shot – and now I see what the big deal is. While sick with a cold and stuck at home, I used Prime Now again. This time, I found it to be a lifesaver.

I was struck with one of those annoying colds that decided to stick around far longer than it was welcome. For that reason, I was running out of groceries, medicine, and tissues. Luckily, those are all things easily orderable on Prime Now.

I ordered nearly $60 worth of goods, including canned soups, bottled juices, NyQuil (lifesaver), milk, bread, and fresh produce – 15 items in all. It was all priced super competitively, and definitely beat the shop on my street, if not average New York City grocery and drug store prices.

The selection had everything I wanted, but I did need to make some compromises. Though there were a lot of Whole Foods 365 brand items, Prime Now’s Amazon shop didn’t have the cereal I wanted. The selection for produce was also limited, and they didn’t have oranges. I was also forced to buy a 5-pound bag of apples, which I am still trying to work my way through.

Still, I was able to do my weekly shop quickly, economically, and the bags were left at the front door my building. I didn’t even have to see another human being in my frightening condition. It also came fairly promptly – it only took a little over an hour from when I ordered.

Tip wasn’t bad either. Amazon suggested a $6 tip on the nearly $60 order, which was a lot easier to swallow than the $5 tip on the $13.57 order from February.

I still won’t use Prime Now as part of my weekly routine. I may use it for days when I just can’t make it to the supermarket, however, or are otherwise indisposed. I finally realize its appeal, why customers are flocking to it to buy groceries, and why Amazon is likely banking on it to increase its grocery sales.

After all, convenience is how Amazon convinced over 100 million people to sign up for Prime.