- I tried AmazonPrime Now, the company’s two-hour delivery service.
- I found it was full of surprising costs, and it took longer than two hours.
- Still, it’s massively convenient for some specific needs.
Amazon Prime Now is getting all the attention these days.
The service, which promises two-hour delivery for a wide variety of items from grocery to electronics, has been expanding rapidly across the country.
Most recently, Amazon added Whole Foods to its list of Prime Now stores in four select cities, with plans to roll out to more cities throughout the year.
Prime Now is also one of the most important pillars in Amazon’s quest to take a bigger bite of the grocery market by combining convenience with selection.
So, with Amazon funelling efforts into growing the service, I decided to check out how it really works:
Here’s where it all starts: PrimeNow.com. This website is a separate portal from Amazon.com, and it’s where all the Prime Now purchasing happens. You could also order items for delivery on the Amazon Prime Now app.
To shop on Prime Now, you have to first select which store you’re ordering from. I decided on Amazon, as I thought it would be the fairest test, but I could have also ordered from two different Manhattan grocery stores or a liquor store.
I found some on-sale goodies that looked perfect for a test of the service.
I also figured I’d add a phone charger since it seems you can never have enough of them. So far, we’re looking at a pretty fair price at $US13.57.
Time to check out! After entering in BI’s address, it was time to select a delivery window.
The first sting of disappointment. It was 11:00, but I couldn’t get a delivery window before the 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. time slot. The 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. window was also ‘unavailable’ for an unspecified reason. None of the ones that were available were within the two-hour delivery that I thought I was promised. At best, delivery would take three hours. I sighed and picked the soonest option I could.
There was an opportunity to give instructions to the courier for easy drop-off, which I took advantage of.
Alright, we’re ready to rock! I was about to order when I noticed my price total had ballooned to $US25.21.
Ah, right. Tip. That makes sense, but I hadn’t considered it before. Amazon suggested its own amount to tip, and I saw no reason to change it. With the $US5 delivery fee charged because I did not meet the $US35 minimum, and the tip, my order’s price nearly doubled. Clearly Prime Now is not designed for one quick, cheap order.
Order placed. A helpful map appeared to give me an idea of where my order was coming from, in relation to where I was. And now, time to wait.
I got a text message as my delivery window opened, encouraging me to track it in real time.
My courier is really close! I’ll get my order soon.
… or not.
Finally! I received my order almost exactly four hours after I ordered it — and an hour into my delivery window.
I picked it up in the mail room and found my order packed in one of Prime Now’s sleek brown paper bags.
I verified the contents — it was all there. Prime Now delivery took longer and was much more expensive than I expected. I’m not sure under which circumstances I’d order it again. Maybe with a larger order, where the tip wouldn’t seem such a large part of the total cost. Prime Now is convenient, though, especially if you know you will need something in a certain time frame.
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