Online Grocery Shopping – Is it Really Saving You Time and Money?
There are two things that seem certain in this world – there never seems to be “extra time” to do anything, and my family wants to eat – every day! I am the extremely busy mom of 4 who homeschools and works from home part-time. Grocery shopping has to fit somewhere in between education, work, baseball practices, music lessons, and taking a vanload of children fishing. Short of just requiring them to catch their own dinner while fishing, I have been striving for ways to make grocery shopping more convenient, yet still within my budget, so I turned to various online grocery vendors to see if my time and money could be spent wisely, and still feed my family well.
Online Grocery Shopping
There are lots of choices out there, so I did a comparison of two factors: local and regional/national. Your specific store results for local options might be different from mine, but you’ll probably see some of the same benefits and drawbacks.
As always when online shopping, you’re going to have three factors that influence your shopping experience:
- Price – I am a bargain hunter – always wanting to get the most for my money, so I sometimes sacrifice convenience or top choice (But the thrill of the bargain hunt is finding what I need without sacrificing anything!).
- Convenience – This is why so many people turn to online shopping – it opens up worlds of time saving options for consumers. I’m striving to make my grocery shopping as convenient as possible without spending more than I typically would.
- Preference – When it comes to groceries, there are some people who need brand names, have different dietary needs, or cooking preferences. I love to cook, so my preferences center more on getting the right ingredients for the recipe I will be using.
Creating an amazing online grocery shopping experience
In order to try to meld these three factors into one amazing online grocery shopping experience, I started with the regional/national retailers.
Netgrocer.com – This site has great selections on groceries that are shipped by FedEx. The prices are average to high compared to what I usually pay in my local grocery store, but I tried to remind myself that those pennies were still worth it when it comes to time and gas money. However, the shipping is what makes this site a “no go” for me, at least if I am able to get to the grocery store. Shipping is by region in the country, and for the amount of groceries I usually purchase, I would spend $21.00 on shipping. Plus, I wouldn’t be getting my fresh produce, so then I still have to invest gas money and time heading to the market.
Schwann’s – This company has been knocking on doors for years, and their food is considered to be reasonable in flavors, yet a little on the steeper side. Still, I tried their service. Delivery to my door was only $1.75 (shipping through various shipping companies is more, so check to see if there is a delivery route in your area). By the time I calculate gas money and time, the $1.75 is a great deal for me, and makes the steeper prices more reasonable. Again, I still have to shop elsewhere for fresh produce, but was able to get some great deals in their Hot Deals section. They even have a coupon section available online where you can select and redeem Schwann’s coupons to redeem upon door delivery or apply online. This is overall a good deal for frozen supplies for a larger family, like mine.
I also checked through sites like WalMart and Amazon, which also offer limited grocery services. The prices were higher than what I pay locally, and the shipping made it not a value since I live in an area with retailers offering these low prices.
Online deals local grocery suppliers
Check with your local grocers. In our area the local Hy-Vee will accept online orders that are available two ways: for pickup at the store (order everything online and after 4 hours you can pick up your groceries at the curb for an $8.00 fee), or you can order online and for $15 they will deliver within the city limits. I don’t live within city limits, so I can’t take advantage of that, but I have used the online bakery ordering option with great success.
What to look for when shopping online
Here is what I look for in good local deals:
- Reduced local delivery rates
- Fresh food
- Discount prices
- Known retailers
What to watch out for in local deals:
- Check to see if you still get flyer ad prices
- Check to see if you can still redeem coupons
- Check to see who will be selecting your produce and how that process works
In my imaginary futuristic world I envision a day when I will be able to grocery shop from home, have fresh ingredients delivered to my home that same day, and still be able to use great coupons along the way. Until then, I’ll order a few frozen veggies and treats online, and amble through the isles with the grocery cart with one wobbly wheel.
What about you?
Do you grocery shop online? Or do you use the wobbly cart, too?