Los Angeles Tastes Amazon Fresh Same-Day Delivery
L.A. is one of two markets testing Amazon's new grocery and restaurant delivery capabilities. So what's in it for you?
If you’ve been out and about in L.A. residential neighborhoods lately, you may have noticed new, bright green delivery trucks with the Amazon smile logo boldly emblazoned on all sides. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you may have even been surprised to find a big green Amazon delivery bag full of non-perishable, edible treats, sitting on your front doorstep, totally unsolicited.
Don’t worry — no mysterious charges will be popping up on your Amazon account any time soon. It’s just the company’s way of introducing their new same-day grocery delivery service, right to your front door. It's called Amazon Fresh, and there are only two markets in the entire U.S. where this is being tried: Seattle and L.A.
Now it’s obvious why Seattle would be a test market, because that’s Amazon’s home base. But Los Angeles? We’re a lot more spread out here than in many other major metro areas, and then there’s our traffic …
What many people don’t know is that Southern California’s massive Amazon Fulfillment Center in San Bernardino makes same-day delivery in Los Angeles possible.
“Our new Fulfillment Center in the area allows us to provide customers a better level of service with access to more than 500,000 items for same-day and early-morning delivery,” said an Amazon spokesperson.
Among those 500,000 items are fruits, veggies, meats, dairy products, cleaning products, paper goods, health care products — just about anything you could get at your local Ralph’s. You can place your order by 10 a.m. and have it by dinner, or by 10 p.m. and have it by breakfast.
This may be convenient, but it isn’t cheap. It will end up costing you $299 per year, a fee that includes Amazon Prime membership, which usually carries a $79 dollar per-year charge that will get you free two-day shipping on most Amazon products, streaming rights to top movies and other benefits. Those who are already Amazon Prime members can get a 30-day free trial.
It’s obvious why those who have mobility issues would find Amazon Fresh useful, but if you’re perfectly capable of schlepping a few blocks to your friendly neighborhood supermarket, would this service really be of value to you?
The unique foodstuffs on the Amazon Fresh Los Angeles Spotlight menu might be most attractive. They’ve hand-picked unique local businesses to sell their products ranging from fresh meat, cheese, produce, cupcakes and chocolates to ready-to-eat and deconstructed meals that customers can prepare in their kitchens. For example, you can get fresh fish from Santa Monica Seafood, your favorite aged cheese from The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills, ready-to-eat gourmet meals from Heirloom L.A., even taco kits from the Border Grill.
So if you’re planning a dinner party and don’t have time to run down to Santa Monica or Beverly Hills, find a place to park and make five different stops to get all the right ingredients, this might be for you. Or perhaps you want dinner from your favorite restaurant waiting for you when you get home.
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You have a couple of different options for doorstep delivery. You can choose a three-hour time slot that works best for your schedule, and you don't even have to be home. They’ll leave your items at your front door in temperature-controlled tote bags. But if your building has a secure entry or limited access, this obviously won’t work.
Or you can choose a one-hour time slot when you will be available to receive your order in person. The delivery associates will even bring your groceries into your kitchen and take away any totes or other shipping supplies. This is called “Attended Delivery.”
Now the whole system is relatively new, and — dare we say? — fresh, so there are a few bugs in the system that might be a little frustrating. And the waits for customer service attention can be substantially longer than you would expect.
But all in all, it’s a more comprehensive same-day food delivery service than just about anything else we have in L.A. By the way, if you’ve forgotten your anniversary, there’s a strong possibility you could have a same-day, non-food gift delivered — like a book, jewelry or electronic device. If it’s in that big old warehouse in San Bernardino, order it by 10 a.m. and it can get home before you do. Better order dinner while you’re at it.