With growing technology and constantly changing consumer needs, many grocery stores have begun to offer an online ordering service. Though each store is different, the concept is very much the same – you log onto the store’s app or site, select the groceries you want, schedule your pick-up time (or delivery for some) and never have to walk into a grocery store again. 

Over the last few months, I've heard more and more about this new technology including the money people were saving yet I was very skeptical to try for myself. Would it really save me time? What quality of products would I receive especially for produce? Would I really save any money doing ordering online vs. going to the store and doing myself? With a non-stop weekend ahead and an empty fridge, I finally decided to give the technology a try. Looking back, I wish I had done it sooner!

My experience

Like I do prior to any grocery trip, I created a meal plan and a list of items I needed for the week. Instead of starting the car, I made myself a coffee, opened up my computer and created an online account at my local grocery store – I was even able to connect my loyalty points to my account.

At first, I was a bit overwhelmed and didn't know where to start. Do I type in my grocery list items in the search bar, or should I click each category and search from there? I decided to go to each category and search for my items by scrolling through the list. For many, this would work, but because I didn’t group my list into categories, I found I’d have to go back to categories as I missed something on my list. Towards the end, I began to type the item into the search bar to find my item quicker which became my preferred method of the two.

After my cart was full of the items on my list, I selected a time for pick-up, entered my payment information and hit submit. Voila. Done – well that was quite easy. Now I could go about my day until the scheduled pick-up time. 

Pick-up was quick and easy. From the time I parked to being back on the road with groceries in hand, it took no longer than 5 minutes. There were a few items I didn't receive due to being out of stock which was a bit of an inconvenience as I would eventually need to go to the store to grab, but the items I did receive were perfect. The fruits and veggies were fresh and the expiry dates on items were nowhere close to being due.

What I learned

Overall my experience was wonderful and included several learnings and quick wins:

  • Make a meal plan to set the schedule for the week and help create your shopping list.
  • Categorize your shopping list.
  • Search is your best friend.
  • Don’t wait till your fridge is empty – processing times may vary and you may not be able to get schedule your grocery pick up for another day or two based on availability.
  • Substitutes aren’t a bad thing – you can provide notes on preferred alternatives - and reduce inconveniences of having to go back to the store to pick up items previously out-of-stock.  
  • You save time and money!

Savings

The best part of all was the money I saved! By doing online, I found I wasn't tempted by items on the shelf, or items on sale, as I didn’t see them. My cart was only filled with items actually on my list. Looking at old grocery receipts, I estimate I saved about $40 from not impulse buying… if I were to do that each week, that'd be over $2,000 in savings a year! Talking to others, I've heard similar stories when it comes to their savings.

If you haven't tried online grocery shopping and are on the fence, my recommendation is to try it – what do you have to lose? For some, it may not be for you, but for others, you may love it like I do. For me, I was able to spend the time usually spent in the grocery store doing more important things, including spending more time with my family. To top it all off, I saved money that I can now put towards something else, talk about re-occurring savings! For me, it was a win-win!