Trying out Amazon Prime’s new one-hour delivery service

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To test out Amazon Prime's new Now delivery service, I ordered a handful of grocery items through the app and had them delivered to the Statesman office. I paid $7.99 for the one-hour service, plus a $5 tip, and the products were here in 35 minutes. Photo by Deborah Sengupta-Stith.

To test out Amazon Prime’s new Now delivery service, I ordered a handful of grocery items through the app and had them delivered to the Statesman office. I paid $7.99 for the one-hour service, plus a $5 tip, and the products were here in 35 minutes. Photo by Deborah Sengupta-Stith.

Instacart, Favor and Postmates made waves last year when they launched their same-day delivery services, but this week, the biggest player in the game stepped to the plate.

Amazon Prime Now is the name of Amazon’s same-day delivery service, through which customers can order from thousands of products and have their goods delivered in as little as an hour. amazonprimehomepage

When I first saw mention of Amazon launching this service in Austin yesterday, I thought it was only a few hundred everyday products that were available. You know, dog and cat food, toilet paper, cereal, chips, soda, canned green beans.

But when I started digging around the app this afternoon, I realized that Amazon has an entire dry goods section of a grocery store housed in a warehouse up in North Austin. Unlike the traditional Amazon service, you don’t have to order six cans of black beans or a case of Kind bars at a time.

amazonprimenowscreengrabsTo test out the service, I ordered Premium saltine crackers (let’s be honest, all other brands are lesser saltines), Chex cereal, Hanson’s tonic water, Chex Mix’s trail mix (I smell an Austin360 Taste Test in the future on that one) and a gift that my coworker needed for her daughter’s school fundraiser.

The tonic water cost $2.15, which is less than what I think I’d pay in the grocery store. The other items cost a tad more than what it seems I’d pay at H-E-B ($3.32 for Chex cereal, $2.50 for saltines, $3.31 for Chex trail mix), but I’ll try to double check the next time I’m in the store.

I paid $7.99 to have it delivered in an hour and gave a $5 suggested tip for the courier, whose name is Luis and who should be arriving at the office momentarily.

There is a $15 minimum, which I didn’t quite hit with the food products I ordered, but to be honest, I couldn’t think of any other dry goods that I needed.

I’m in need of a trip to the grocery store, but everything on my list is refrigerated.

UPDATE: My order arrived 35 minutes after I placed it on the app, and three employees, wearing Amazon Prime shirts, arrived to give it to me. (Two of them were in training, Luis said.)

I was surprised the order got here so quickly, considering 35 minutes is about how long it takes to drive from the Amazon fulfillment warehouse, which according to the map looks to be at the intersection of Rutland and Metropolitan drives in North Austin, to the Statesman office.

The Premium saltine crackers are a half box, something I didn’t notice when I was ordering it online, and the bag of Chex trail mix is smaller than I thought it would be. In the store, I’d be able to see more easily that I was paying more for a smaller quantity, but that’s easy to overlook when ordering online.

On the plus side, the six-pack of tonic water costs less per unit than the 24-pack, which is the only kind that you can order through Amazon’s regular delivery service.

I’d love to hear what you all think of Amazon’s new delivery service if you use it in the next few weeks, especially if you’re a fan of one of the other delivery services.

To be honest, I don’t regularly use them (except for the occasional Favor delivery) because I’d rather pay less for the items and not pay a delivery fee or tip and do the grocery shopping myself. Having said that, I’m glad the services are here because they are keeping retailers on their toes to make the shopping experience more interesting, and plenty of Austinites are happy to pay a little extra to save themselves a trip to the store.


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