Different ways to get groceries without leaving the house

Different ways to get groceries without leaving the house

Google’s Express, Amazon’s Prime Fresh, and Instacart

Each of these services work in different parts of the country, though all three work in San Francisco. You can try out Instacart if you live in any of these 18 metropolitan areas:

Alabama Arizona California Colorado Connecticut District of Columbia Florida Georgia Illinois Indiana Kentucky Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Missouri Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New York North Carolina Ohio Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina Tennessee Texas Virginia Washington Wisconsin

Whereas Amazon Fresh is only available in select ZIP codes in Seattle, Philadelphia, New York, New Jersey, and Northern and Southern California. 
As for Google Express, you can get same-day delivery in California’s Bay Area, Manhattan, Chicago, Boston, and Washington, DC. It also provides overnight delivery in Northern California, Southern California, and parts of Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and Kentucky.

Price Comparison

It’s hard to do an apples-to-apples price comparison, because each service has its quirks, here’s a general rundown of how much each service costs:

Instacart costs $7.99 for one-hour delivery or $5.99 for two-hour or more delivery (you can select one-hour time windows), though the price can increase at particularly busy times. For free two-hour delivery on orders $35+, you can pay a $149 yearly membership. A tip gets added on automatically.

For Express, grocery deliveries start at $2.99 for people who pay its $10 a month ($95 a year) membership fee, and $4.99 for everyone else. You can choose to when your goods will arrive in a two-hour delivery window on the same day, as long as you don’t order too late in the day.

Prime Fresh delivers your groceries for a $299 yearly membership (with no other delivery fees on same-day orders over $50). If you already pay $99 for a yearly Prime membership, you can upgrade to Prime Fresh and get your original membership fee refunded on a prorated basis.

Store Availability

Instacart’s store availability depends on where you live. The site tells you which ones offer the same prices as you’d get if you went into the store. It was nice to have some local variety like San Francisco staples Bi-Rite and Rainbow Grocery. To test out the service, I shopped Mollie Stone’s, a Bay Area chain.

On Google Express, all prices are the same as in the store, no matter what. There’s also more store diversity — beyond groceries, you can also use Google Express to browse shops like Bed, Bath & Beyond. That being said, if you *do* just want groceries, the selection isn’t as big, at least in my area. I decided to try Whole Foods with Google.

On Amazon, you have the freedom of selecting from tons of products regardless of what stores they come from. That’s a huge benefit of the service. Unless you have a certain store you’re obsessed with (calling all Whole Foods fanatics), it’s nice to not have to limit yourself to a specific retailer.

When it came time to check out, Instacart definitely had the most flexible delivery. (Note that the Instacart delivery fee was waived because it was my first time using the service.)