/ Shopping

Your views: buying food from Amazon

Amazon Fresh debate

Hundreds of you voted in our poll on whether you would use Amazon to buy your food shopping. Even keen fans of the store seemed reluctant.

As someone who loves buying books, I felt a pang of conscience when a small, independent bookshop on my high street closed.

Why hadn’t I used it instead of buying books on Amazon? But then I remembered that the stock was terrible, the owner grumpy and the opening hours increasingly eccentric.

My narky neighbour was of course an exception and there are a huge range of great independents across the country. But many of us have over the years been drawn to online shops such as Amazon by speed of service and the promise that they can get us pretty much what we want.

John Haslett for one is a confirmed Amazon fan:

‘As Prime members we get free next-day delivery on nearly all we order and in many cases same-day delivery. Additionally, we also get access to Prime Music with more tracks than I could ever listen to and their video, film and TV download/streaming service.’

For John Ward though, Amazon already has too much of a grip on our purchasing habits.

‘Amazon has ruined the book and music trades, been the kiss of death for hardware shops and left little competition for electrical appliances.

‘In every case choice and competition have been eroded and now it’s going to happen all over again with food.’

Many of you, like me and John Haslett, are happy to use Amazon for many things. But food shopping? John is clear: ‘Amazon, yes to the rest, but no to food.’

To be fair, it is the very idea of buying food online he can’t see the point of.

‘I last did one several years ago with Tesco and it almost took longer to find and order what I wanted (a weekly shop) than to visit my nearest Tesco. I also received odd substitutes and some very short sell/use by dates.’

His view is echoed by Malcolm r who cheerfully admits to buying many items online but adds:

‘I prefer looking at food in the flesh and making choices in a food store I regard as of good quality.’

Using Amazon for food: our poll

More than 800 of you voted in our poll on whether you would use Amazon to buy your food online. Just 155 of you said you’d definitely be happy to buy your food from Amazon, while 475 were told us you wouldn’t.

Kenneth Raine has doubts about whether he’d find it good value:

‘If you need to pay to be a Prime member plus £ 6.99/month, then it immediately renders itself uncompetitive. The big four have £1 delivery slots, so why bother with Amazon on food?’

Beryl agrees:

‘On the odd occasion when I food shop online, it has always been delivered promptly at a time of my choosing, free of charge by Waitrose, the only stipulation being a minimum order of £60 and as long as this reliable and dependable service continues. I will continue to buy my food from them.’

Wavechange’s comment did suggest there was one way high street supermarkets might drive him online!

‘At present I prefer to visit supermarkets and shops to buy food. While I have my health, the only thing likely to persuade me to shop online is introduction of piped music in supermarkets.’


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The proof of the pudding will be in the spending and I think Amazon will do well. They must have done their research and know the potential. It won’t suit everyone but enough to make it successful. Amazon will pick its territories very carefully – no retailer has better data than Amazon on how the population spend their money and what they are looking for. Analysis of the data will show a pattern postcode by postcode, household by household, category by category. It would not surprise me if one of the major supermarket chains went under before long and if some of the second division were wiped out by the fierce competition.

Bear in mind that one should always remember that by using tax laws should also give Amazon an extra margin of profit over normal stores in the UK.

We can hardly blame Amazon for making use of the current tax position, but it’s high time that action is taken to deal with the problem.

The less UK tax Amazon pay, the more the rest of us will have to pay via other channels…

That will require international agreement, and leaving the EU – where tax havens exist – will not help.

As John put it, ‘according to a poll’ it has been decided that we should leave the EU. If this happens we might as well take advantage of whatever benefits it could bring.

I’m not sure of the point of this second Convo on Amazon. We’ve had a debate and anyone interested can look back on it. This seems to be publicising an Amazon service with no facts available to be able to judge it – price of food, origins, quality. shelf life, substitutions. in other words no basis on which to assess it. Why not wait until it is properly up and running when it can be compared with other on-line food retailers?

Amazon seems to escape criticism from Which? Failed Kindles were never properly dealt with, 2 pin plugs persist as an issue, Amazon’s responsibility for faulty or dangerous products supplied through its market place get scarcely a mention (except from a multitude of Convo contributors). If Which? perhaps addressed these sorts of issues seriously I might be less cynical. 🙁

MS says:
3 July 2016

I ordered from Amazon Now groceries the day after it went live. I’m a happy Prime customer for other stuff, so thought I might give it a whirl.
Unfortunately they had NO fresh meat whatsoever, had a very odd selection of foods, and I had to struggle to find things I needed to get to the minimum basket value.
When I ordered, the card didn’t go through because they still had my old address. No their fault – but I couldn’t correct it! They simply CANCELLED the order and I had to go through and re-add EVERYTHING back into my basket. There was no way for me to edit things on my laptop, because you can *only* use the app. It meant it was very fiddly to go through and search, add things again.
Because that took longer, I then missed the slot I wanted and had to go for a later slot. This was cutting it fine, because I had evening plans to leave for.
When the shopping turned up, the yoghurt I bought had a big frozen lump in the middle of it. It didn’t seem like the refrigerated goods had been properly stored! I was worried about this, so I had to throw most of the fridge food out – I’m not getting a dodgy tummy over that. Almost a blessing that they didn’t have fresh meat.

All in all an arduous and painful experience. I will stick to my local Tesco shop and online deliveries. Their customer service has improved of late, they very rarely substitute anything (and only sensible subs), and I’ve saved a lot of money getting their annual Delivery Saver deal.

No Amazon food for me!

Three months after taking over Whole Foods, Amazon is shutting two stores employing around 150 staff.

I note Amazon Fresh is going into competition with Ocado and it would not surprise me in the least if Amazon launched a takeover bid for them. I just hope the powers-that-be don’t allow this to happen as Amazon is too big already and I definitely don’t want to food shop from them.

A whole article here:

Excerpts from article:
Earlier this year Amazon also placed a job advert looking to recruit a boss for UK Amazon Fresh Marketplace to ‘aggressively expand’ to win new food and drink partners.

The takeover is potentially hazardous for the retail industry because of the sheer scale of its business. Unlike high street grocers which operate on low margins and need to keep tight controls on costs to make profits, Amazon’s £412bn market value means it can afford to make years of losses.

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