Amazon shuts down Prime Pantry, its first foray into online food delivery, in a move towards simpler shopping

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    Amazon shuts down Prime Pantry, its first foray into online food delivery, in a move towards simpler shopping

    • Prime Pantry closed on Wednesday, but customers can still order food and household items through Amazon’s main page.
    • The program was launched in 2014 and was initially offered to members of the Prime free shipping program. But in 2018, Amazon added a $5 monthly subscription fee.
    • Since launching the program in 2014 Amazon has expanded into the household goods market, with programs like Amazon Fresh for groceries and with the company’s acquisition of Whole Foods Market.
    • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

    Amazon has closed down Prime Pantry, it’s online grocery and household goods service, as the company tries to streamline its online shopping experience.

    Amazon shuttered Prime Pantry Wednesday and has moved thousands of products previously available through the service to the company’s main retail page. 

    Prime Pantry was Amazon’s first foray into selling food online. Customers were able to order “everyday package sizes” of shelf-stable food, cleaning supplies and goods like paper towels. Since launching the program in 2014 Amazon has expanded into the household goods market, with programs like Amazon Fresh for grocery and with the company’s acquisition of Whole Foods Market in 2017. 

    Originally, Prime Pantry was only offered to members of Amazon’s Prime free shipping program, but in 2018, the company added a monthly subscription fee. Customers could select eligible products that were required to fit into a single large shipping box, which was delivered for a flat $5.99 shipping fee.

    Outside of the additional subscription fee and the limitation of fitting purchases into a single box, items also took longer to be delivered than items purchased directly through Amazon Prime. Prime Pantry delivery times ranged from one to four days through ground shipping, while Prime deliveries typically arrive within 24-48 hours.

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    The company also struggled to keep products in stock, especially during the course of the coronavirus pandemic when more shoppers moved online. In mid-March, Amazon temporarily shut the program down after the shopping frenzy at the onset of the pandemic caused products to sell out before they could be restocked.

    Prime Pantry items were catalogued separately online, which could cause confusion for shoppers. When items were ordered they could not be included with other products purchased through Prime and appeared in a separate shopping cart.

    In exchange for using Prime Pantry, Amazon offered additional discounts on the eligible items which put the service in direct competition with a popular Amazon program, Subscribe & Save. The service operates similarly, but without a single box limit. With Subscribe & Save, customers can get several discounts off products, as well as free delivery.

    When the Prime Pantry was shut down on Wednesday, some users took to social media to say they had been left in the dark. Though a company spokesperson said customers were notified of the shutdown in December and received refunds for their mon tly subscription fee.

    —Amazon Help (@AmazonHelp) January 6, 2021

    An Amazon Representative said the decision to shutter Prime Pantry is part of a move to simplify customer’s online shopping experience.

    “As part of our commitment to delivering the best possible customer experience, we have decided to transfer Amazon Pantry selection to the main Amazon.com store so customers can get everyday household products faster, without an extra subscription or purchase requirement,” a spokesperson said. 

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    The decision to shut down Prime Pantry comes just days after Amazon cut another program. On Monday it was announced Haven, a joint health venture struck up by Amazon, JPMorgan, and Berkshire Hathaway, was disbanding.

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    (the headline, this story has not been published by Important India News staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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