I have been hearing rumblings over the past couple of years that online grocery shopping was about to become a very big deal. For the most part, I really don't enjoy grocery shopping and have become interested in the topic as a means of saving time. After thinking it through, however, I thought it might also end up making meal planning easier and as a result save money (even if the prices were the same). The other thing that we know to be true is that once something becomes available for Internet purchase the price usually comes down dramatically due to competition. So, this week we take a look at the concept online grocery shopping.
I read a ton of articles over the weekend about buying groceries online. The downside is that you don't get to squeeze the Charmin (or the produce), so you might want to do your online shopping for staples and make a separate small trip to the store for those items you want to personally inspect. For me, this would principally be produce and meat (Although it should be noted that you can buy meat and frozen goods from some of the online grocery sellers).
Shelf Pulling Services
A close cousin to online grocery shopping are services being implemented by local stores allowing consumers to order their groceries through a website and then pick them up at the store a few hours later. All of your groceries are ready to be loaded into your car and you save the time of walking through the entire store to find your items. Sam's Club has implemented this nationwide through their 'Click 'N Pull' program.
Local Delivery Services
Peapod is the leader in this category and has multiple locations across the country that operate as local delivery operations. If you live in an area serviced by Peapod, you can place an online order for any grocery item and for a fee they will deliver your groceries to your home. You can also pick up your Peapod groceries and avoid the delivery fee altogether.
Amazon is getting involved with this niche in a big way. Through their Amazon Prime membership, most of their grocery items qualify for free shipping (members join Prime for $79 annually). Looking around the Amazon grocery site I did notice that many things require purchase in quantity, but the prices are very good. For example, you can't just buy one can of soup as you may only have the option to buy a package of eight cans.
Online Advantages And Disadvantages
OK, the great thing is not having to go to the grocery store but let's set that aside for a moment and look at cost savings. You can save money buying your groceries online but you have to pick and choose what you buy. If you have a general sense of the cost of major grocery items, you can browse through some of these sites and do some comparisons. Some may disagree, but for staples like canned soup, Amazon's grocery service has what seem to be very competitive prices to me. I hedge a little here since many of the articles I read slammed Amazon for having high prices, but it probably makes a big difference based on what items you are buying. One big advantage beyond the convenience factor is shopping for 'special' food items such as gluten free, vegetarian, or GMO free. This is very easy online (especially at Amazon). For those game food fans, I even found Bison burgers and hot dogs!
Top Sites That Sell Groceries
Give this another year or two and it will be huge. Right now it seems that the online grocery industry is still in its infancy. From what I have seen, I think that online grocery shopping is going to be an enormous trend. If you do your grocery shopping online, I would absolutely love to read your story. Please use the comments section below and we can start a conversation.
Helping you make the most of God's money!