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Pros and Cons of Online Grocery Shopping

Updated on March 16, 2017
Beth Eaglescliffe profile image

Beth is an entrepreneur. She writes about employment issues, ways to earn money and how to get best value when spending it.

Grocery shopping online is easy.
Grocery shopping online is easy. | Source

More and More People are Shopping Online

Online shopping is a growing trend. It's convenient and can be fitted around busy lives. However when it comes to grocery shopping in particular, there's a nagging worry for some people about the quality and freshness of the food that will be delivered. This article gives the pros and cons of doing your grocery shopping online. It should help you decide if online grocery shopping is the right choice for you.

Why Order Groceries Online?

 
Pros
Cons
Ordering
Anytime 24/7
Some websites badly designed
Delivery
Convenient 2 hour time-slot
High cost for popular time-slots
Quality and Freshness
Stores try to send best quality
Not always to your own high standard
Crowds
Avoids crowds and queues
No social interaction
Prices
Able to browse offers
Popular offers may be unavailable

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 an online assistant that is able to give automated answers to the most common problems. The very best grocery websites also have online chat facilities that allow you to interact with a real person so that you can sort out any ordering problems immediately.

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, the stores are responding to consumer feedback and improvements are being made to their websites all the time.

Benefits of Buying Groceries Online

Pros: Online ordering usually gives you the option of having either home delivery or 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.

Online Grocery Shopping With Walmart

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.

Online Grocery Shopping

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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 individual fresh items for you (such as fruit and vegetables) will never seem as good as if you had personally picked out the best in store yourself.

Amazon Fresh Offers Convenient Delivery

I was able to get all of our favorite things in one shopping purchase.....I would usually have to go to 2 or 3 different stores to get these very specific food items. It took me about 10 minutes to place my order.

— Dy Anne Parham, Amazon Fresh customer

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.

Consumer Survey about Online Shopping

In December 2011 Safe Home Products Inc. carried out a survey of US shoppers. They found that “the results were overwhelmingly in favor of online shopping because of convenience, value and variety.” Their survey asked consumers the following questions:

1. Do you choose online shopping for convenience? 96% said yes.

2. Do you choose online shopping for price? 80% said yes.

3. Do you choose online shopping for the ability to research your buying decision? 91% said yes.

4. Do you choose online shopping because products offered online can't be purchased locally? 77% said yes.

5. Is online shopping easier than shopping at a physical store? 89% said yes.

6. Do you plan to spend the less time shopping online as you do in person at the store? 78% said no, they will spend more time shopping online

7. Do you feel you get a better deal online compared to purchases at a retail store? 71% said yes.

Fresh fruit and vegetables weekly grocery order.
Fresh fruit and vegetables weekly grocery order. | Source

How to Stay Safe When Shopping Online

When doing your grocery shopping online make sure that you shop in a safe manner. The video below covers some simple precautions you should take to prevent your personal details being stolen or used fraudulently.

To get the best experience when shopping online set a budget so that you don’t overspend. Only enter financial details online if you're confident that the website is using secure encryption processes. Look out for the padlock symbol and the 's' (for security) in https in the URL website address. And finally, always use your common sense. If something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

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    • Dee aka Nonna profile image

      Dee aka Nonna 3 years ago

      I'm not sure I want to go there yet. As much as I hate shopping, of any kind, buying groceries online is one I will have to think about a little longer. I do like the fact that you listed the pros and the cons.... the pros make sense......but....... Anyway, thanks for the article. It truly is something to consider. And, I can see it benefits many people. Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • Beth Eaglescliffe profile image
      Author

      Beth Eaglescliffe 3 years ago from UK

      Online shopping doesn’t suit everyone. Personally I love the convenience of shopping online, but I miss the social contact that is a part of in-store shopping.

      Thanks for the vote up.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      Love the Internet Messenger sculpture! I do some online shopping but not for my groceries though I do find that supermarkets become a bit of a battle ground with trollies sometimes so I'm tempted.

      It's also too easy to buy more items than you need when they're set out in front of you!

      I live close to several supermarkets and many town shops so it's easy for me; however, if I lived out of town I might consider online grocery shopping more seriously. This is a really useful hub with good advice.

    • thebiologyofleah profile image

      thebiologyofleah 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      I have been toying with the idea of trying online grocery shopping. Although I like to pick out my own fruits and veggies, as well as see what new items are there, I often question my faith in humanity while at the supermarket (people are rude, in a hurry, practically run you over to get their items). Thanks for sharing the pros and cons, useful information!

    • Vvitta profile image

      Kalai 2 years ago from Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

      I do shop online for groceries but only for the dry goods. When it comes to my fresh proteins, vegetables and fruit, I prefer the local wet market where I can personally choose each fruit, each vegetable and each tomato for the perfect one. Am I weird?

    • HoneyBB profile image

      Honey Halley 2 weeks ago from Illinois

      Good advice for online shoppers to know what to expect and what to watch out for when shopping for groceries online. I recently did my grocery shopping online and I did encounter one of the problems you mentioned but it was still an overall good experience and I will be doing most of my grocery online from now on. Thanks for sharing the pros and cons.

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