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Instacart vs. Amazon Fresh | Which One is Better?

By Ferdi Vol
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In our hectic life, who has the time and energy to go to a local grocery store to get their daily needs? Moreover, in a world where almost everything can be done online, why choose to do so? We have shopping apps like Instacart and Amazon Fresh now, to help us get what we want at our doorstep. But the question is, Instacart vs. Amazon Fresh- which one is better?

When it comes to choosing the better one between Instacart and Amazon Fresh, it varies according to your preference and area. However, Instacart is considered to be the best for online shopping between these two because of its wide reach, super quick delivery service, and some other additional services that it provides. 

But that is not all, and there are still a lot of factors to consider if you want a clear view before selecting your shopping app. In this article, I am going to talk about this more vividly for better understanding and will also try to provide you with the positives and negatives of both services.

How Do Instacart and Amazon Fresh work?

Amazon Fresh and Instacart both deliver grocery and provide pickup services. You can order your grocery needs simply from their website or through a phone app dedicated to them. So, basically, they both provide you with the convenience of eliminating the need to visit grocery stores and lets you select your local shop or supermarket according to your choice.   

So, apart from some specific differences in the process of their system, they both have the same core premise, which is to deliver your required product to your doorstep. Now, moving on to their working style that differs greatly.  

In the case of Amazon Fresh, you get to select your required groceries, household staples, and pantry items from a platform designed to serve you. Amazon Fresh provides you with its own product line and provides products from other companies as well. As a result, you get the opportunity to choose from a list of varieties.   

Another attractive thing about this platform is that you also get to choose how you want to pay for it and the time you want your product to be delivered. They'll make sure that your order is being delivered within two hours of your chosen time. Here are some basic pros and cons of Amazon Fresh –

Pros

  • Instacart is one of the fastest delivery services that deliver your product within 2 hours after placing the order.  You can also choose to pick your product up from the local store. 
  • It has a large delivery area and serves more cities than Amazon Fresh. It serves more than four thousand cities.
  • You can choose your product’s delivery time when you place an order to avoid inconvenience.
  • Shoppers can shop from any store in their area that is partnered with Instacart. 
  • You can obtain membership to get fast and free delivery options. However, it is not a necessity. 
  • It is possible to discuss quality issues and substitutions via chatting or texting with clients when necessary, and real-time update is possible as well. 

Cons

  • Most products are more costly than local stores and even than Amazon. 
  • Poor substitutions and missing items are a frequent occurrence.
  • An extra service fee is required that comes up when you decide to checkout. 
  • Several additional fees make Instacart costly when they are added up. 

Instacart works a bit differently from Amazon Fresh. It doesn't offer you a large number of options and only provides you with products from stores that are working with Instacart and are area-wise available. All you need to do to order using Instacart is place your order, select a delivery time according to your convenience and wait for it to arrive. 

Now, let’s take a look at some of Instacart’s pros and cons:

Pros

  • You can order anything according to your requirement, and there’s no chance of encountering the unavailability of items.
  • The quality of the products is what you expect it to be when you buy from local options. 
  • You can get products at more reasonable prices than other local options.
  • If you have an Amazon Prime membership, you can have free access to Amazon fresh.
  • You can choose the time you want your product to be delivered. So, the flexibility lets you avoid unattended delivery.
  • Provides you an easy and fast refund if you are not satisfied with the quality of t=any product or if any product is missing. 
  • Various deals and offer coupons are available on several items on a daily basis. 
  • Packaged foods are 10 to 30 percent more affordable than Instacart.
  • Offers free delivery if the order threshold is minor. 
  • The app of Amazon Fresh is very easy to use.

Cons

  • Having an Amazon Prime membership is a requirement. 
  • Monthly payment of 14.99 dollars is compulsory. 
  • There is a chance of not getting your delivery the day you place the order.
  •  In order to avoid the delivery fee, you’ll need to order a minimum of 35 dollars per order. 
  • Metropolitan cities are mostly being served, so the delivery area is quite small. As the program doesn’t include all US cities. (They only include- Stamford, Boston, New York Metro, Dallas, Baltimore, Chicago, Seattle, Philadelphia, New Jersey, London, Northern Virginia, and some areas of California.)
  • Paper or digital coupons cannot be used with any order.

Differences Between Instacart and Amazon Fresh

Even though the objective of both Instacart and Amazon Fresh is the same, there are still several things that are different. In order to know which of these two you should choose for your grocery delivery; you have to go through the differences. Now, I will talk about the differences in a point-by-point manner for the sake of better understanding. 

Cost

When you start getting your groceries delivered to your door, you won't be able to stop it because of the convenience that it provides. Therefore, due to it being a long-time occurrence, money is an extremely vital consideration. 

Some people think getting a membership costs a lot as you have to pay an annual fee. But the fact is, without having a membership, the costs keep adding up if you keep ordering on a regular basis. Therefore, membership sometimes becomes a necessity. Keeping this in mind, Amazon Fresh offers people with Amazon Prime membership its service without any additional charge.

Amazon Fresh also offers free delivery for people holding a membership if the order reaches its minimum threshold cost of 35 dollars. However, this amount may differ from one area to another. So, getting your groceries from Amazon Fresh lets you save a lot and ultimately is cheaper than grocery stores. 

On the other hand, even though Instacart lets people without any subscription or membership use their app, getting one is a better option. Because the delivery cost is 3.99 dollars per order and it increases with the increase of delivery size and when a special request is made to get a peak delivery slot. 

And when you have a membership, you can get free delivery if you order products of more than 35 dollars. So, with a membership, shopping with Instacart costs a bit less. All you need to do to get a membership is pay 9.99 dollars per month or 99 dollars per year. 

Another thing is that in Instacart, surprise markups are a frequent occurrence. Because on this platform, stores decide their own product cost and change their products' cost quite frequently. Which I not the case for Amazon Fresh. There are no surprise markups, and the cots are consistent. 

Range of Products

When you shop with Amazon Fresh, you get the option to choose from several different categories such as dairy, produce, meat, fresh foods, etc. The best part of Amazon Fresh is that it offers you all the necessities without facing product unavailability. The choices are limitless as they offer their own product line and products of other famous brands. 

On the other hand, when you shop from Instacart, the product availability and wide range of options depend upon your area and if the stores it has is partnered with Instacart or not. But if this limitation is met, it lets you get your product from your favorite stores. It also lets you choose your items from different stores, which increases the range of products. 

So, even though with Amazon Fresh, there's a minimum possibility of product unavailability, you still have to get your products from the list that the site provides. Whereas, with Instacart, you can get products from the local stores of your choice. This gives Instacart the upper hand. 

Delivery time

Both Instacart and Amazon Fresh ensure you fast and same-day delivery. But only one of these follows through. When you order using Amazon Fresh, there's a possibility of not getting your ordered products in the required time. Suppose you are ordering in the morning for a party that's going to take place that night, there's no guarantee you'll get your delivery before the party. 

This is not the case when you use Instacart. Because it doesn't only promise same-day delivery, it also follows through by delivering at the expected time. This way, you can also avoid unattended deliveries and can store your products in time. 

As getting delivery in the expected time is a necessity in our daily busy life, and Instacart can deliver in a short delivery window, between Amazon Fresh and Instacart, it is the more reliable option. 

Customer Service 

When it comes to any delivery service, several things can go wrong. The ordered product may not be of expected quality, and products may be missing or damaged, etc. Therefore, customer service is vital in the case of online services so that they can hear out the customers and take necessary steps regarding their issues. 

Based on customer reviews, Amazon Fresh can provide you with a very reliable customer service department. Even though this platform creates problems like delivering your product to the wrong door or leaving a product far from the door, when it comes to listening to your problems and taking steps to solve them, it is quite active and helpful. 

On the other hand, based on customer reviews, the customer service of Instacart is below average due to their rude delivery persons, lack of communication, and overall negligence towards customers. Even though these may not be daily occurrences, there's still a chance of not getting heard. 

Which Is the Best for Online Shopping?

Choosing the best between Instacart and Amazon Fresh is very hard as they run neck in the neck due to both having strong points. However, Instacart offers a stronger front as it delivers in a larger radius and provides additional options like- no membership, cost-free app usage, real-time update, faster delivery, etc. 

But choosing the best among these two depends upon a person’s individual requirement. So, before selecting which one is the best online shopping for you, you’ll need to consider several facts. 

Go for Amazon Fresh Only If:

  • Your area is served by Amazon Fresh.
  • You already have an Amazon Prime membership or interest to get yourself one. 
  • You are in favor of no sudden markups and consistent pricing.
  • Receiving your product after one or two days won’t be a problem.

Go for Instacart Only If:

  • Your area has a number of stores that are partnered with Instacart.
  • You need your delivery to be within two hours and don’t want to face any delay.
  • You have no issues with surprise markups. 
  • You want to keep yourself connected to your shopper for queries of any sort. 

So, after considering the above-mentioned points, you’ll be able to choose which one will be the best online shopping option for you. 

In this article, “Instacart vs. Amazon Fresh,” I have given you all the information you might need on both of the platforms and also talked about their pros and cons and differences to help you understand which one you should choose for your online shopping. 

As people have different preferences, their decision on this kind of thing varies. Therefore, I have also talked about the facts that should be considered before deciding on one. I hope this article was of help to you and wish you the best of luck with your online shopping experience. 

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About the Grocery Store Academy
The Grocery Store Academy is a blog about everything that has to do with grocery stores. This is your #1 spot to find the right information for your needs.
About the Author
Ferdi Vol has worked several years in a grocery store and has a passion for good food. He's happy to share his passion with you!
About Ferdi Vol
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