Amazon Prime teams up with Sprouts to amp up its grocery delivery

Amazon Prime has been delivery groceries in Austin for two years, but it was somewhat limited in its offering, focusing mostly on dry goods. The big warehouse in North Austin didn’t have the capacity to do fresh produce, raw meat and refrigerated goods.

That all changed today when Amazon announced its partnership with Sprouts Farmers Market (a grocery store, not a farmers market, I’ll note) to offer one- and two-hour grocery delivery in Austin.

Amazon Prime is now delivering Sprouts to customers in Austin, but the delivery time depends on where you live in the city. It costs $7.99 to get the one-hour delivery, but free after that. The prices are similar to what’s in the store.

Sprouts has five locations around Austin, which makes it easier for Amazon shoppers to hit that one-hour mark, something that is difficult to do with only one warehouse and crazy Central Texas traffic.

But here’s the catch: You can only get the one- and two-hour delivery if you’re in certain ZIP codes. I don’t live in a part of town where I can get the one-hour delivery, but I was able to book a future delivery for free, so I went shopping.

Some details about the delivery zones: Amazon doesn’t release specific details about which ZIP codes or areas of Austin it offers delivery; the company only suggests that customers go online to put in their ZIP code to see if they are eligible. When I initially started shopping, I didn’t have the option of getting a two-hour delivery, but a few hours later, I was eligible.

It sounds like availability can change based on demand, but the bottom line is: You should be able to get one-hour delivery in the parts of Austin that are somewhat near a Sprouts store, but you might have to wait an hour or two longer if things are really busy or you’re just a little too far.

Amazon Prime launched one- and two-hour delivery in partnership with Sprouts Farmers Market this week.

The Sprouts prices are the same prices as in the store, at least as far as I could tell. I picked out coffee, soda, a ton of fresh produce, a half-gallon of milk, raw chicken and some of their fresh sausage, which is one of the items that usually draws me into the store in the first place. It took a little digging around, but you can also order from their bulk section, another competitive advantage over stores with smaller bulk offerings.

Some of the snacks I wanted to buy (Chex Mix, Cheez-Its) Sprouts doesn’t carry, but I was able to order them for a separate delivery from Amazon. (Yes, that means two deliveries. More on that in a second.)

Unless you enter the site through the “Sprouts” banner on the Prime homepage, the search function automatically includes results from both Amazon and Sprouts, so if you’re only trying to schedule one delivery (and pay one tip), it can be challenging to make sure you’re picking all Sprouts (or Amazon) items. (You can filter the results to only show one store, but the site drops the filter with each new search. It’s a small fix that I hope they’ll make.)

I ended up needing enough stuff that Sprouts didn’t have (I’ll do a lot for a box of Cheez-Its) that I placed another order on Amazon for delivery at the same time. Because they weren’t one-hour deliveries, both were free, and I included a $5 tip on each, so in my mind, I spent an extra $10 to not have to go to two stores.

Both deliveries arrived near the very end of the delivery window, which made me feel silly for rushing home to try to get there before the groceries arrived, but on that particular day, I was willing to pay $10 not to have to go to two stores. I ended up with about 15 paper bags that made me feel like I was wasting a lot of trees for that convenience, but the meat and milk were cold and the avocado and mango I ordered were perfectly ripe. In a pinch, this is a good option for grocery delivery, but I wouldn’t want to fall into the habit.

I like being in touch with what’s on the shelves at the actual store, and I hated having to wait for the delivery driver, especially when I was hungry and ready to start making dinner but couldn’t until the ingredients arrived.

 

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