It's funny how I stumbled upon grocery shopping online. I'd heard of it in passsing before, but had not explored it, and was not aware that it was available to me in the Canadian prairies. But then I saw Tesco and ASDA in a list of related keywords and was curious to know what they might be. I'd like to tell you what I've discovered.
It turned out that Tesco is a chain of grocery stores in the United Kingdom, (England), where people can place their order for groceries on the website and have them delivered to their door. "Well, look at that!" I told myself, "The UK has got a head start on the rest of the world in grocery shopping online!"
Out of further curiosity, I researched to see if this idea was to be found in Canada. I began to discover one site after another, all located in Canada, and serving mainly the larger metro area of their cities like Toronto and Ottawa. It didn't take me long to figure out that some sites were laid out to work better than the others. I noticed that the prices were higher than what I'm used to paying at my favourite local store, and there were shipping costs to cover too. On the other hand, what a boon to those who were too busy or were not able to go shopping personally in a local store.
These are the most obvious reasons why grocery shopping online is taking off.
I began to wonder why I wasn't seeing any grocery shops online from the USA, so I did a more deliberate search. (Turns out Google was just serving me links to results for my area and country first). Whoa! There are more than two dozen such sites serving the USA. A few of those even ship internationally. So, if we don't mind the extra shipping costs we could order from there too.
1. The sheer convenience!
2. Saves time
3. Saves wear and tear on vehicle - or public transit costs
4. Broader selections
5. May avoid impulse-buying
The same source offering all these USA links, Mashable.com's online grocery shops page also offered a list of such sites marked "International." Looking more closely at them I see he counted some Canadian sites as being International. That gave me more sites to add to the grocery shopping online in Canada list.
At any rate, I'm thinking this needs to be shared, but I should invite others to help me gather some objective reviews of these sites. Would you like to contribute a review of your favourite grocery site?
Three pages of reviews are here for a start. On each of these pages you will find a form to contribute your own reviews or offer additional information based on your experiences on the grocery shopping sites you see there.
Here are some guidelines for grocery shopping online. You may want to see the big picture first so you can be discerning about how you do your own grocery shopping online - if you wish to take it up.
I may sound like a one-string fiddle, but take time to research the options available to you in your area BEFORE you start ordering your groceries online. It could save you some frustrating "G-R-R-r-r-r!" moments when you grind your teeth because a better way appears later.
Read each site over carefully, looking especially whether they deliver in your area, or whether they have a physical store in driving distance, in case you want to size them up in a personal visit.
Look for their About Us page, and the Terms of Service page. They do not all use the same protocol, nor do they offer exactly the same services.
Naturally, browse through their products and look over the selection and the prices. Ask yourself, is this the kind of stuff I want to order? Are these the kind of prices I want to pay? How does it compare to the competition in my area?
Don't forget to check out their shipping rates and policies. Is there a flat fee? Is it included in a membership cost? Or does it depend on how far you live from the point of delivery?
You may be surrounded by caring family and friends who will do it for you for free. If so, you are blessed! If you cannot do your own grocery shopping, you may decide to hire someone else to do it.
Deciding whether to get someone else to shop for you?
That depends on what you consider your time worth, and whether you want to pay that much. If you are making $10/hour, or $15, or $25/hour, then you maybe can afford it. But next, it depends on your budget and where your money goes. (TeleGrocer thinks that if your time is worth $7/hour, this is a worthwhile option for you. Personally, I'd like to see at least $20/hour).
Most of these sites offer a personal shopper (or other staff) who selects your groceries off the shelves and packs them for delivery. Find out how much that service costs, and then check around among your friends to find out if any of them would do it for a bit less. You could go to the grocery's online shopping site to prepare your list (then you'll know the prices of the items ahead of time too), and give your list to your personal shopper.
There are lots of women who love shopping, and would easily be able to manage a cart for you while they do their own grocery shopping. That's assuming they are willing to take on the responsibility. How do you know until you ask around?
If you would like to do some shopping in one store, and another category of items in a different store, you could even line up more than one personal shopper. This one for that store, and that shopper for another store. (Oh for a couple of sensible, trustworthy daughters, eh?)
If you are looking for work yourself, do you spot the opportunity here? Here's more about offering to be a personal shopper for - grocery shopping online - or other items.
Of course, since shopping online for your groceries is so easy, there is no reason why you could not learn to do it yourself. If you are nervous about shopping online, just ask someone to help you the first time or two. The hardest part is choosing the right grocery site. Once you have settled that;
1. Register and login (memorize or put your login information in a safe place).
2. Select your groceries and the quantities from the site.
3. Go through the checkout steps with your credit or debit card. (more detailed guide)
4. Wait for your groceries to be delivered according to schedule, most likely the following day.
5. Schedule how often and when you want to do your grocery shopping online again!