Amazon Backtracks On Grocery Delivery Fees

Less than a year after increasing Prime delivery fees, Amazon has amended that decision.

Amazon's grocery leg has been a work in progress for some time now, as the company tinkers with various ways to get more people to buy their basic necessities exclusively from Amazon. In yet another effort to find a winning formula, fees are being adjusted: Amazon Fresh has lowered its threshold for free grocery delivery for all Prime members, Grocery Dive reports.

In February of this year, Amazon announced it would be increasing its entire delivery fee structure for its grocery business. Previously, any Amazon Fresh order made by an Amazon Prime member that was over $35 would earn free delivery. As of Feb 28, 2023, however, the delivery fee structure switched to:

  • Orders under $50: $9.95 fee
  • Orders $50 to $100: $6.95 fee
  • Orders $100 to $150: $3.95 fee
  • Orders above $150: free delivery
  • Why the sudden, drastic price hike?

    "We're introducing a service fee on some Amazon Fresh delivery orders to help keep prices low in our online and physical grocery stores as we better cover grocery delivery costs and continue to enable offering a consistent, fast, and high-quality delivery experience," Amazon told Grocery Dive via email at the time.

    The delivery fee increase was met with immediate backlash from customers. After learning of the price hike, one Reddit user posted a thread asking whether Amazon Prime was even "worth it at this point." The responses heavily leaned toward no.

    "Just cancelled my yearly Prime membership after receiving this email," wrote one Reddit user in the thread. "Fresh was the only benefit I was really using so $140 a year + per order service fees just wasn't going to cut it." Others noted their skepticism of Amazon's reasoning that this delivery fee increase would help keep prices low, instead pegging the decision as a corporate cash grab.

    "It may seem like quibbling to some, but this is actually pretty crappy," wrote another Reddit user. "There are a lot of people who rely on this service who will be extremely negatively impacted by this. I'm sick to death of greed."

Amazon’s new delivery fees

To the probable relief and possible confusion of some, Amazon has just lowered one of the delivery fee thresholds for Prime members. Now, Amazon Fresh grocery orders that exceed $100 will earn free delivery for Prime members, down from $150. The rest of the delivery fee structure, however, will remain the same as what was announced in February (and what's shown in the bulleted list above).

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Business Insider obtained an internal Amazon memo ahead of the new decrease, and within the document the company noted that it had received "customer feedback" indicating this change would be a good idea.

"We're always listening to customer feedback and looking for ways to make shopping for groceries easier, faster, and more affordable," the document read, as reported by Business Insider. "As part of that, we continuously test our delivery models to see where we can make adjustments, and recently received positive feedback from customers when we piloted this change in select cities."

A positive reaction to making something free again isn't exactly a surprise. Grocery delivery isn't at as popular as it once was, but it's something that Amazon wants customers relying on as heavily as possible, and eliminating fees is one way to entice any shoppers who might have strayed. Still, while pleasantly surprised Prime customers start building their Amazon grocery lists again, the skeptics might be wondering how long it'll be before the fees creep back up.

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