Pros & Cons of Online Grocery Pickup Services

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Have you jumped on the grocery pickup bandwagon yet? Well, if you haven’t, here are a few reasons why you may want to give it try.

Grocery shopping…it is one of those necessary things, but if you are like me, you will do whatever you can do to get out of doing it. That is why I wanted to try out my local Hannaford Grocery store’s online grocery pick-up service “Hannaford to Go”.

Like any other online purchase, the convenience of it all is undeniable. If you live a busy lifestyle, work a lot of hours, have a family, or maybe you just have difficulty walking around, this may just be a little more than just convenience. This service can save you time, money and maybe even pain.

I know what you’re thinking, you’re probably thinking you won’t get the best produce or the freshest items on the shelf, but so far, I haven’t experienced that.

Online grocery shopping is a pretty new deal for grocery stores and they are working hard to satisfy their customers. For instance, my local Hannaford grocery store sent a $15.00 dollar coupon for the first online order to their regular customers who had registered for their rewards program. When I cashed in on that coupon, guess what they did? They kindly rewarded me with another one. Hey, that’s free money toward my regular grocery bill, $30.00 just for trying out the service. I couldn’t ignore that.

Here are some reasons why you may want to give online grocery shopping a try.

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The Pros:

  1. By doing your shopping online, you can take your time and plan out your weekly meals, and then adding the items you will need to your shopping list. This helps save you money when you buy exactly what you need, no forgotten items.
  2. You can look at the weekly flyer to see where the deals are that particular week, then plan your meals accordingly.
  3. You will not impulse buy. Sometimes we spot an item in the bakery or a bag of chocolate chip cookies on the shelf, and before we know it, it’s in the cart. It’s the old “smell food, want food routine”, no more fresh bakery smells luring you into buying those unwanted muffins!
  4. You can clip coupons right on the shopping app. Most stores now have a store app where you can digitally clip coupons, no more scissors or forgetting your coupons on the kitchen table. Also by signing up for the certain reward programs, stores learn your shopping habits and therefore, give you customized coupons for the items you habitually purchase. Clip them on the app and they credit the coupon when you pay. So easy!
  5. Place your order on your lunch break and your groceries are ready for a pick up on your way home.
  6. You can schedule your pickup to work with your own personal schedule. Set the pickup time, drive up and park in the designated shopping spots and they deliver the groceries to your car! Now that is convenience! For mothers out there with toddlers, this can be a dream come true!

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Okay, so it’s not all wine and roses, but the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks in my view. In the attempt at being fair to you naysayers, here are a couple of drawbacks, minor as they may be.

The Cons:

  1. It does take some time to learn how to use the website. If using a computer is difficult for you it’s probably not going to make shopping easier. * update: Hannaford has recently done significant renovations on their online shopping site, making their website much more user friendly. Thank you Hannaford!
  2. An item you selected can be unavailable due to sell-out. (When this happened to me, the store actually called my cell phone and had asked if I wanted a substitute brand or other product in its place, which I thought went above and beyond for customer service.
  3. You still need to leave yourself a 15-minute window for the pickup. Even though you have preselected the time, you have to be ready for unforeseen delays in your order. A 5 minute wait time seems to be the average.
  4. You may not be able to schedule the exact time slot you wanted for pick-up due to popularity. Grocery pickup services are getting pretty popular, so you will need to plan ahead.

Susan sitting at her patio table ordering groceries in her PJ's. with coffee.
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Well, that’s it in a nutshell. I love having this service available, I don’t always use it but it really is a great service. This morning I did my grocery shopping while drinking my coffee in my pajamas on the back patio!

Check out my online shopping receipt below…

This was a particularly large shopping order for me, but as you can see, Hanneford gave me a discounted service fee because I belong to their rewards program. The second $11.00 deduction, was a special online coupon for orders over $100.

So even though some of the competitors offers the service for free, not all of them offer the other benefits of customer rewards.

Grocery receipt with discounts circled total discount showing $13.00 deducted from grocery bill.
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