If the aisles of your grocery store seem just a little bit less crowded these days, here’s why: More and more people are ordering their groceries online using Grocery Delivery Services.
By 2022, the Food Marketing Institute says that consumers could be spending $100 billion a year on grocery delivery services. In fact, in the next five to seven years, as many as 70 percent of U.S. consumers will regularly buy consumer packaged goods online, according to the nonprofit.
Convenience is one big reason why fewer people take the time to walk into a grocery store for their weekly shopping trip. They simply don’t have the time to wait in the checkout line.
But, as online retail shopping for everything from books and clothes to furniture and cars soars, it’s no surprise that grocery delivery services are booming too. For more of us, the internet, not the mall or a store, is the first place we turn to when we need something new.
And plenty of stores and delivery services are meeting the demand as customers seek ways to skip the trip to the grocery store.
Most major grocery stores and big box chains, including Publix, Walmart and Safeway, offer online shopping and either pickup or delivery options. Third party grocery delivery services also keep customers from going to an actual store.
6 grocery delivery services
What are the options for your family? Here are details about six of the biggest grocery delivery services:
- Amazon.com runs AmazonFresh, a grocery delivery and pickup service that’s available only to Amazon Prime members in select cities. A monthly membership fee is $14.99 on top of the $119 annual fee to join Amazon Prime.
- Brandless sells food, beauty and personal care products and other items under its own label. All items are just $3 a piece or less, plus shipping. A Brandless membership for $36 a year gets you free shipping on all orders.
- Thrive Market bills itself as an “online market that’s like Costco,” but for organic and natural products. The site offers a free 30-day membership trial. To join, it’s $59.95 a year.
- Instacart offers same-day grocery delivery from local stores, including Whole Foods, Target, Costco and Petco. Customers pay monthly membership fees and orders over $35 are included with free delivery.
- Shipt is another online grocery delivery service that operates in about 160 areas in the United States. The membership-based service costs $99 per year. Members get free delivery for orders of $35 or more. Items come from local stores.
- And with Google Express, you can build your grocery list with simple voice commands. The service lets you shop from a variety of stores, including Target, Costco and Walmart, by adding items to your cart with the Google Express app or a Google Assistant.
Does online grocery shopping cut costs?
Online grocery shopping certainly is convenient. But does it save if you are shopping on a budget? Maybe. For many people, the ability to order what you need to feed your family without the temptation of “impulse buying” while in the store is appealing. However, when you add up memberships and fees, the savings might not be significant.
If you’re considering online grocery delivery services, here are four things to consider:
How much are the fees and tips?
Most services are not free. You’ll likely pay some sort of delivery or membership fee, along with, potentially, a tip for the driver.
While the sites may be advertising cheaper prices on the products they sell, once you add up the fees and tips, you may be spending more for your groceries online than if you’d gone to the store yourself.
While you can certainly put a dollar amount on the time you save not going through a checkout line, take a hard look at whether these costs are worth it for your wallet.
Are you picky?
Do you like your peaches just a little bit soft? Do you require your deli meat to be sliced just so? Do you insist on a brand of macaroni and cheese?
When you give your shopping list over to a delivery site, you won’t have full control on the items you buy. If you’re picky, online grocery shopping might not be for you.
Do you comparison shop?
Checking out store circulars and hopping from one store to the next to nab the best deals can be a great way to lower your grocery bill. When you’re shopping from a single online site, you might not be getting the cheapest prices.
Do you like to splurge?
If you have trouble sticking to your list at the grocery store, then online shopping might be for you. It’s less likely you’ll be tempted with online pictures of chocolate cake and potato chips and more likely your virtual shopping cart will be filled with only exactly what you need.
So, is online shopping for you? It really depends on how you shop, what your budget is and what your time is worth to you.
Have you used online grocery delivery services? What has your experience been? We’d love to hear your comments below!