Amazon has instituted a new service called PrimeNow that is available in some parts of the country, Austin, Texas being one of them. The service allows you to order products that can be delivered to your location within the hour or in selected time slots. It was a bit rough setting it up, but the results were surprisingly good.
Interestingly, I had a bit of trouble finding it. It isn’t promoted the regular Amazon home page, and while I knew about the service, I didn’t know what it was called. I finally remembered an Amazon promotional email and found out I needed a dedicated PrimeNow app from the App Store. The app requires iOS 7.0 or later and is only available in English. To take advantage of this service the user must have an Amazon Prime membership which costs US $99 a year and offers multiple services.
As noted above, the service is very limited, but you can quickly find out if the service is available in your zip code on the PrimeNow sub site at Amazon. Once I set up the PrimeNow account it was available on all of my iOS devices. Once you get it set up it is very easy to use.
Using The App and Comparing Prices
I do a great deal of my shopping on-line these days. For one thing I don’t want to go shopping with my toddler grandson in tow, and for another it is not as easy to tramp through malls and stores as it was 15 or so years ago. I also use the internet to make sure I am getting the best price. For these reasons, I was very interested in trying out the PrimeNow service.
When you open the app for the first time you have to register using your established Amazon ID and password. On subsequent visits you just sign in. You are presented with an opening page that offers you some categories for searching. Things like Spring Cleaning or Everyday Essentials, and other categories. There is a US $15 minimum order required.
Home screen for PrimeNow
You can scroll any one of those categories to see what kind of things are available. I found one product, milk, that requires refrigeration, and I found no fresh bread products. Once you have an idea of the stock, you can choose to delve deeper. For instance, in the general listing I found a 12-pack of Cokes. It seemed to be the only Coke option, but when I did a search, using the “what do you need today?” field, I found numerous options for Coca-Cola products.
Prices tended to be close to or cheaper than my local grocery store prices. That 12-pack of cokes was listed at the usual sale price that crops up weekly at one store or another. A 5 ounce (142 grams) can of Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light Tuna in Water was two cents cheaper than the grocery store. The various options for Glad trash bags ran about US $.75 a box cheaper than the local grocery. The price for a specific Samsung 32-inch LED TV was within a dollar either way of several stores in my area. It will be interesting to see if the prices remain competitive as the program matures.
There are a few Apple accessories available and prices are at, or below, retail prices. For instance, the Apple 12W USB Power Adapter was $5.00 cheaper than Apple's MSRP.
There is a fee of $7.99 if you want your delivery to be within one hour of placing the order. Other delivery options come in two hour blocks, and they are free. Deliveries are available up to midnight in my area. There is a tip recommendation included, based on the amount of the order, and it can be included on your credit card along with the cost of the order. Tax is also included.
When setting up delivery you can be very specific in delivery instructions. For instance, you can instruct the delivery person to bring your order to your back door, or you can give specific instructions for a work situation that requires visitors to check in at a front desk. I have found the delivery staff to be efficient and friendly. They waited until I could confirm that my order was correct before leaving and invited me to shop with them again.
Bottom line is that PrimeNow is a user-friendly program that allows users to get a vast array of products delivered right to their home the same day they are purchased. It will be interesting to see how successful it is and if it expands to other cities. It will be important to periodically compare prices. For now, I love the opportunity to sit comfortably in my living room while I purchase food and household products that I can receive in a couple of hours.