Have you tried Amazon’s grocery delivery service yet? It’s nothing like Tesco or Sainsbury’s online shopping experience.
The traditional supermarket online model works by you booking a delivery slot, usually between 1 and 2 hours in length, and paying for the privilege. The more popular slots are more expensive. You then add items to your virtual shopping basket and check out as normal. In some cases, if you’ve not spent enough money, there may be a delivery charge.
Your shopping isn’t delivered by a branded van and in baskets or even traditional supermarket bags.
Amazon Pantry is entirely different. You start by buying a box – that costs you £2.99 and happens automatically when you add something from Amazon Pantry into your Amazon basket. You can fill the box, leave it with just one thing in or half full it and it’ll still be £2.99. If you need a second box it’ll cost you £0.99.
There’s a psychological effect here that works out quite nicely for Amazon. I found myself trying to fill the box. I wanted to make sure I got my £2.99 worth even if it meant buying more groceries.
I didn’t pick a delivery slot when it came to check out. Using my Amazon Prime membership I left the delivery standing as next working day. Since I was shopping online on Saturday this meant my Amazon Pantry arrived on the Monday. It is, sometimes, possible to book a delivery slot with Amazon but I can’t say whether that’ll always be possible with Pantry.
The next big change was the delivery itself. An unmarked white van turned up outside my flat and a man wearing a Yodel vest wrestled a heavy looking box to his shoulders.
That was my Amazon Pantry order.
It’s a heavy box. I even struggled to rip it up and put it in the cardboard recycling unit when I was done unpacking. I don’t blame the Yodel driver for ignoring the “this way up” arrows on it – I couldn’t lift it that way up either.
The contents of the large box were well packed. Unusually for Amazon there were internal cardboard dividers. The typical sheets of brown paper padding were also found inside. None of my items were broken or damaged.
The experience felt entirely unusual. I think the biggest shock to the system was the unmarked van turning up outside. Thankfully the box itself is clearly branded as Amazon Pantry.
Amazon has a pretty good range of items for the Pantry but it doesn’t compare to a standard supermarket yet. There’s nothing that needs to be chilled. There’s some strange omissions too – I couldn’t find diet or regular coke-a-cola but could find caffeine free and cherry cola. I went for a large bottle of Pepsi max in the end. Why would Amazon have some but not all of the typical range of fizzy drinks?
I’m not sure if I’d use Amazon Pantry again. If it was much cheaper – yes – but I didn’t notice a difference. If it was the only way to get certain items – yes – but I don’t suspect that’ll be the case for a while. I’m certainly going to keep an eye on Pantry as Amazon is bound to work hard to make this a compelling shopping experience and their new deal with Morisons might just help with the fresh and chilled goods.
If you’ve had a recent experience with Amazon Pantry please let us know in the comments below. Together we can track its evolution.