Amazon is requiring its Prime Fresh grocery delivery service members to pay a $299 annual membership to use the service in Seattle and elsewhere, which GeekWire has said is “upping the ante” and pushing some frequent users to say they’ll look to use Amazon competitors instead.
The official price tag, noted the site, comes after an eight-year test in Seattle, alongside an expansion across other U.S. cities.
That rollout comes after several experiments, in which the company tried out different pricing tiers in California, for example. With delivery fees charged to Amazon Fresh members atop the standard $99 annual subscription, at least some observers have speculated that the grocery service might not launch in scale. Now, said GeekWire, customers in Philadelphia, Seattle and New York City find that upon logging into their accounts that “AmazonFresh is now available exclusively to Prime Fresh members,” with information about the $299 annual fee and the free delivery on orders $50 and above. GeekWire noted that the Seattle users have been using AmazonFresh sans annual subscription fees for several years.
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And, the site continued, there are options for those folks disgruntled with the price tag. There’s Google Express, for example, which charges a cheaper annual fee, at $95 per year or $10 per month, for free delivery on items with the exception of cold groceries. Then, there are traditional grocery stores offering delivery, such as Safeway.
And, according to GeekWire, Amazon is also competing with itself. The Amazon Prime Now service offers Prime members — you know, the ones paying $99 a year — free two-hour delivery. That comes on top of the $7.99 delivery fees attached to one-hour service across a wide swath of products, including some grocery items, though not as many different options as might be seen with AmazonFresh.