Amazon is doing away with one of the biggest objections to its AmazonFresh grocery delivery service: the controversial $299/year Prime Fresh subscription fee that the company rolled out last year. Instead, Amazon Fresh will be $14.99/month, available only to Amazon Prime members, the company announced this week.
Adding in the $99/year cost of Amazon Prime, the new annualized cost is still only about $20 less than the previous yearly fee, as noted by Recode. But the monthly pricing is likely to make it far more palatable than the $299/year option. And with an estimated half of U.S. households already Amazon Prime members, many people are already paying that part of the cost anyway.
As explained on this Amazon page, the company calls the new grocery subscription fee the “Fresh Add-on.” The subscription provides unlimited daily deliveries. Under the new approach, orders below $40 come with an additional $9.99 delivery fee, but orders above $40 don’t have a delivery fee.
The company has experimented with a variety of different pricing, delivery and subscription approaches for AmazonFresh over the years. The rollout of the $299/year subscription last year sparked a backlash from longtime customers. The sting was especially sharp for some customers in the Seattle area, many of whom had been using AmazonFresh without an annual subscription fee since Amazon started testing the service in the region back in 2007.
AmazonFresh competes with a wide variety of grocery delivery services from tech companies like Google and Instacart, and traditional grocery stores, as well. The Amazon Prime Now delivery service offers Prime members free two-hour delivery and $7.99 one-hour delivery on a wide variety of products, including some grocery items, although the selection is much more limited than it is on AmazonFresh.
Update: Here’s what happens to existing Prime Fresh members, according to an Amazon spokesperson.
“Customers who currently have an annual Prime Fresh membership will be moved to the $14.99 Prime monthly Add-on plan upon their renewal date. If a customer would like to move to the monthly plan prior to their renewal date, they can contact customer service to cancel their existing Prime Fresh membership and sign up for the new monthly add-on plan. They will be refunded the remaining amount of their existing plan in a pro-rated basis.”