The No. 1 Problem With Shopping for Groceries on Amazon

In theory, shopping for groceries on Amazon should be a convenient, affordable, and user-friendly experience. However, that’s not always the case. In fact, buying groceries through Amazon’s Prime Pantry is a lot more complicated than you might think.

Curious to know more? We share the No. 1 complaint 84% of Amazon’s customers have, plus other reasons to reconsider shopping Prime Pantry, ahead.

1. You have to have Amazon Prime

Amazon packages

It might not be worth it for everyone. | jahcottontail143/iStock/Getty Images

The first problem with shopping for groceries on Amazon? You have to be a Prime member — i.e., spend $99 a year. Although there are perks to Amazon Prime, it might not be worth it to those looking to use their membership solely for groceries.

Next: Buying in bulk? You might want to reconsider.

2. There’s a weight limit on Prime Pantry items

Amazon Buys Whole Foods For Over 13 Billion

If you want things delivered you might be out of luck. | David Ryder/Getty Images

Another downside? There’s a 45-pound weight limit on Prime Pantry items. While the weight limit might seem manageable, it can add up quickly — especially if you buy in bulk.

Next: This Prime perk does not apply.

3. You have to pay for shipping


You still have to pay for shipping. | Oli Scarff/Getty Images

One perk of being a Prime member is free two-day shipping. However, that does not apply to pantry items. No matter the weight (or size), each pantry box ships for $5.99.

That said, there are ways to avoid the $5.99 shipping fee. One way is to change your shipping when ordering other Amazon Prime items from two-day shipping to no-rush shipping. This will automatically add a $5.99 Prime Pantry credit to your account. Another way? If you stock your box with five or more items, you’ll receive $6 off your order.

Next: Prime Pantry isn’t the most inclusive service.

4. Pantry items don’t ship to every state

Not everyone can benefit. | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

If you live in Alaska or Hawaii — or you don’t have a residential or business address — you can’t reap the benefits of Prime Pantry. Amazon only ships pantry items to those in the contiguous U.S. And it doesn’t deliver to P.O. boxes, Amazon Lockers, and APO/FPO addresses.

Next: The biggest reason consumers hate shopping for groceries on Amazon.

5. You can’t see the items in person

Amazon Opens First Cashierless Convenience Store In Seattle

It’s trying to change that with the Amazon Go store. | Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

One of the biggest complaints about shopping for groceries on Amazon? You can’t see the items in person. According to Business Insider, a whopping 84% of customers prefer to see their food before they purchase it.

That said, Amazon recognizes this problem and is making big strides to fix it. Case in point: The company purchased Whole Foods in 2017 and opened its first Amazon Go store in Seattle in early 2018.

Next: This Amazon Prime perk doesn’t always apply.

6. Shipping time

Amazon Fresh insulated grocery delivery bags totes on front home house porch closeup with man carrying

Two-day shipping isn’t guaranteed. | krblokhin/iStock/Getty Images

Another potential problem with ordering groceries on Amazon? The shipping time varies. Even though it’s technically connected to Prime, you might not receive your items within the two-day shipping time. Instead, it takes Prime Pantry boxes a shipping time of one to four days.

Next: Grocery items are limited.

7. Nonperishable items only

Tomato paste amazon

For now, it’s nonperishable food only. | Amazon

While Amazon is most likely going to be changing this in the future — especially now that it’s connected to Whole Foods — right now you can only purchase nonperishable items on Prime Pantry. Although it isn’t the end of the world, it’s not exactly the online grocery experience we’d like to see from the e-commerce mogul.

Next: This is a deal breaker for some consumers.

8. No generic brands

It’s name brand only. | Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images

Another problem with buying food on Amazon? It doesn’t stock its virtual shelves with generic brands. Instead, you can only shop name brand items (and their matching name brand prices).

Next: Speaking of name brand …

9. It doesn’t save you money

whole foods

You’re better off going to a regular grocery store. | Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Prime Pantry is about convenience over savings. So if you’re looking to save money on groceries by shopping on Amazon, you might want to reconsider. With the lack of generic brands and shipping costs, it’s not the best way to save money on grocery items.

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