Amazon.com has launched a grocery delivery service in the U.K., following the recent kickoff of a similar service in Germany.
The online retailer said it has 22,000 product lines ranging from cleaning products to fresh fruit to beer and pet food. Amazon is entering a crowded market in the U.K. Stores such as Tesco, Sainsburys and Waitrose have delivery services that can often deliver items the next day during a specific time range.
Items that Amazon directly fulfills will be delivered in the mail. Customers have two options for delivery. For an annual £49 (US$73.50) fee, customers can subscribe to Amazon's Prime membership, where an unlimited number of items can be delivered free.
Another option is Free Super Saver delivery, which takes between three to five days after items are dispatched, according to Amazon.co.uk's Web site. That option applies only to goods fulfilled by Amazon. Delivery times can also vary depending on whether customers decide to consolidate their items into one shipment, according to an Amazon U.K. spokeswoman.
For fresh and other items not fulfilled by Amazon, the vendors offering those items on the site's Marketplace will be responsible for shipping. For example, a two-pound bag of cooked king prawns from vendor The Fish Society will be delivered by courier within a day after the purchaser arranges a delivery time. The cost of delivery is listed as £5.21.
Other items offered and shipped by vendors seemed to have high shipping costs. A four-pack of Banana King Granny Smith apples, which retails for £1.39 had a shipping cost of £7.50. The same shipping fee applied from the same vendor for a two-pack of white grapefruit and a pound or so of green seedless grapes.
Amazon has run a grocery service in the U.S. since July 2006 and launched one in Germany last week. It is early days for its latest service, and the company will continue to add products, an Amazon U.K. spokeswoman said.
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