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Pros and Cons of Shopping for Groceries Online

I write about employment issues, ways to earn money and how to get best value when spending it.

Ordering online can give you all the choice with none of the hassle.

Ordering online can give you all the choice with none of the hassle.

6 Reasons to Shop For Groceries Online

  1. You can order your groceries anytime, 24/7.
  2. Delivery is to your kitchen or local locker with e-shopping.
  3. Choose a 1 or 2 hour time-slot for convenience.
  4. Stores send best quality and freshness to minimise complaints.
  5. Able to avoid the hassle of crowds, and parking queues.
  6. Get the best prices; browse offers online at your leisure.

1. Food Shopping Via the Internet

Pros: The big advantage of ordering groceries online is that you can browse the virtual shopping aisles 24/7 without leaving the comfort of your sofa. Many sites have online chat facilities that allow you to interact with a real person so that you can sort out any ordering problems immediately. I use this food shopping app to help me get the best online experience.

Cons: You need to feel confident about navigating online. Some grocery store websites are poorly designed and searching for a specific item is not always easy. Having said that, stores are responding to consumer feedback and improvements are being made to their websites all the time.

2. Benefits of Buying Groceries Online

Pros: Online ordering usually gives you the option of having either home delivery or click-and-collect store collection. Most stores give you a two hour time slot for your grocery delivery or collection; some may narrow it down to just one hour. This makes the service very convenient. With an 18 hour delivery window to choose from, seven days a week, you can easily fit your grocery shopping around your other commitments.

Cons: Delivery charges may be higher for the more popular delivery slots, for example on a Friday or Saturday. For major public holidays like Christmas or New Year, delivery slots can get booked up several months in advance. You can avoid excessive delivery charges by booking early and planning your shopping spend weeks ahead.

Buying groceries via the internet means you can avoid queues.

Buying groceries via the internet means you can avoid queues.

3. Convenience of One Hour Delivery Slot

Pros: Most online delivery options offer same day delivery, or a choice of one or two hour next-day delivery slots. This is great for busy people who don't want to have to stay in for hours waiting for a delivery.

Cons: Convenience comes at a price. Demand for home delivery, and click-and-collect has rocketed during the last year. The coronavirus pandemic has made many more of us reluctant to do our grocery shopping in person. Stores have been quick to take advantage and delivery charges have risen substantially. A few still offer free delivery, but the quid pro quo is a large minimum order size.

4. No More Queuing or Parking Hassles

Pros: Shopping online means no queuing at the checkout to pay, no parking hassles as you search for a space in the shopping mall car park and no negotiating the in-store crowds if you have to shop at peak times.

Cons: Grocery shopping via the web is a virtually anonymous activity. You have no human contact with store staff or other customers. Nor can you have any accidental meetings with old friends or love-at- first-sight encounters over a shopping trolley.

5. Freshness and Quality of Food Assured

Pros: The last thing that a grocery store wants is dissatisfied customers complaining about having received poor quality goods. This makes a lot of extra and unnecessary work for their customer complaints department. It is therefore good practice for them to only send the freshest produce out on the home delivery orders. A reputable store will give a guarantee that if you are not happy with your delivery then they will give you a refund.

Cons: Somebody else choosing your fresh items for you (such as meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables) will never seem as good as if you had personally picked out the best in store yourself.

6. Save Money With Home Grocery Delivery

Pros: Shopping online means that you have saved spending on gas and parking charges. You will have time to browse all the special offers as you put your grocery order together. You may wish to check the price of big value items on a comparison grocery shopping website. They plot the prices of the most popular branded grocery items and their prices should never be more than 24 hours old. They have a team of price checkers who visit the physical stores as well as monitor the online grocery website prices. It can save you the effort of visiting all the individual grocery sites yourself.

Cons: Popular offers may sell out before your allotted delivery time. Even though the supermarket will bring you a substitute item it may not be appropriate, which can lead to disappointment.

Online Grocery Shopping on a Budget

Can E-Shopping Help Local Producers?

Supermarkets tend to have centralized warehouses and distribution systems. They buy from large-scale farms and factories that can deliver lower per-unit costs. Demand for locally produced food is growing and so some grocery stores are changing their policies to include small producers. There is a cost to this, and some consumers are unwilling or unable to pay more for their food. E-shopping has the potential to help local producers, but how does one define local? Some people say it should be no more than 30 miles from the point of retail sale, while others consider local to include any farm or factory within an entire state area.

Why Should Food Stores Go Online?

There's been a major shift by consumers to shopping online over the last 10 years, and the trend has accelerated with the recent pandemic lockdowns. Customers value convenience over price, and are willing to pay extra for home delivery. Ordering online has become a quick and easy way to shop. Click-and-collect food orders, and secure refrigerated lockers are the shopping channels of the future.

COVID-19 has had an impact on our shopping habits. Before coronavirus, only about 7% of people in Western countries did their food shopping online. When the virus struck, for a short period stores were expected to deliver to more than 90% of homes. A shortage of delivery staff and vehicles caused service levels to fall, but the situation has now improved. More people are shopping instore once more, and stores have recruited more drivers and pickers. So the reliability and availability of home delivery slots is almost back to normal.

Is Online Food Shopping Good or Bad?

There's little doubt that online shopping is a growing trend. The convenience of being able to shop from home 24/7 is a no-brainer for me. However some people will always be worried about the quality and freshness of the food to be delivered. Whether online grocery shopping is a good or a bad thing is a value judgement, and a personal decision. Only you can decide whether the benefit of ordering via the internet is worth more to you than any potential downsides of shopping this way.

Shopping online is convenient and avoids searching for a parking space.

Shopping online is convenient and avoids searching for a parking space.

Is It More Expensive to Food Shop Online?

Not necessarily. Like any kind of shopping, prices depend on supply and demand. If you live in an area with lots of competing stores, then your online food shop need be no more expensive than an in-store trip.

With so many people having to self-isolate during the pandemic, demand for home deliveries outstripped availability in many places. This led to a steep rise in delivery charges. However, as more staff are being employed by stores, such charges are falling. In the last few weeks, I have received emails from several food stores offering me home delivery and click-and-collect store collection at no additional cost.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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