Monday, April 13, 2020

Grocery Delivery Services Reviewed

If there was ever a time for grocery delivery services, the time is now! I have been trying a few of the grocery delivery apps and services with varying degrees of success. My experience the last few weeks have confirmed my appreciation of the independent grocery store and in my urban area it is these stores which have come through.



But first the major players for grocery delivery service are reviewed.

Shipt Grocery Delivery


Last Fall I wrote a review of Shipt which - at that time- was offering a two hour window from the time of ordering to the time of delivery. Shipt delivered every time without fail. At that time Shipt was an annual membership with all deliveries over $35 for free.

As life has drastically changed in the last few months, Shipt is like every other delivery service or app in my area as the demand exceeds the supply of shoppers. Shipt offers deliveries to Meijers, Petco and Target in my area; however, each area is different.

Instacart Grocery Delivery


I have used Instacart and this is a slightly different business model than Shipt. Instacart has a much larger selection of big box stores and smaller grocery stores. The delivery charges vary per store and some stores are adding a percentage price increase for the groceries. Make sure to read the "fine print' as the charges can differ per store.

Review This Reviews writer Bev Owens had a successful delivery experience with Instacart and provides an in depth review of the service. Thanks Bev!

How To Navigate The Grocery Delivery Services And Apps

Persistence. Persistence. Persistence.

A few Hints:
1. Load your cart before looking for the elusive delivery slot.
2. Slots can appear at any time of the day or night, but late night, middle of the night may yield better results to obtain a delivery slot.
3. Stalk the app. Once the list is loaded, stalk the app whenever you think of it or your phone is in your hand. It can become a part time job.
4. Be flexible on the delivery. If a slot opens up it may just be that one slot.
5. Grab the slot when it opens up, don't hesitate.
6. Be prepared that the promised time may or may not be the final delivery time with the ordered items.
7. Be flexible and let the shopper substitute at their discretion. Because stock is limited if you choose the option where the shopper texts you and asks you if you'd like a substitution then your phone will be ringing all. the. time.
8. Tip your shopper.
9. Choose curbside delivery if you are comfortable making the essential drive to the store. Most stores have reserved curbside delivery parking spaces for you to drive up, pop the trunk and the car is loaded.
10. Be prepared for 1-9 to not happen and have to start from again!

The Independent Grocery Stores


In my and suburban area it has been the independently owned and family owned grocery stores which have consistently come through with not only delivering, but actually having items in stock (including that oh so elusive toilet paper!)

A few weeks ago when it was clear the shelves of the big box stores and drugstores were being emptied, the independents immediately restricted the number of items a shopper could buy. Thank you!

Stock: Somehow, someway the independents had stock of the paper essentials and have restocked the new normal essentials (paper towel, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes are still missing in action.) But if you "order" a multi pack of toilet paper, then you may receive 4 individually wrapped rolls. I appreciate their independent decision to provide for all.

How To Order From Independent Grocery Stores


This has been interesting to navigate. The stores are each working around this new way of grocery shopping and perhaps because they are smaller and independent - the stores can adjust much more quickly and efficiently.

A few of the stores have online ordering on their own website. The orders can be then picked up curbside. One of the nice features of the store I have been using is the ability to change the order once it is placed. Obtaining a time slot does take patience, but once the time slot is open and the list is paid for you can go back and add and delete the order up to the time the groceries are packed.

The pick up time slots are in one hour increments. When you arrive at the store and park in the curbside delivery designated spot you call the number provided.  The trunk is popped and within minutes the groceries are wheeled out to your car.

The employee stops at your window and I hold up the confirmation sheet so they can confirm your identity and the trunk is loaded. Trunk is closed, thumbs up from both parties and off you go.
I provide a tip by placing a note in the trunk with the tip in an envelope.


Another independent store in the neighborhood does not have their own website ordering, but is accomplishing the order and deliveries old school with email and phone calls. An order can be called in by 10 a.m. or emailed for same day pick up or delivery. This is the neighborhood "Cheers" type store and they offer free delivery to all seniors or health compromised or in a high risk category. Each week their order/delivery/pick up system has evolved and I know the neighborhood is grateful for their contributions to keeping us at home.

The Independent Pharmacy

Once upon a time which is now many years ago, the local big box pharmacy has excellent pharmacists and staff. Knowledgeable, dependable, consistent. This has greatly changed in recent years and it has been a hot mess getting prescriptions filled ... correctly. Sigh.

So who has come through in the recent weeks? The independent pharmacy.

The local independent pharmacy is making hand sanitizer for its' customers and provides delivery free of charge. I am so happy the switch was made from the big box pharmacy a few weeks to the independent pharmacy. (They are located next to an independent grocery store and even offered to pick up groceries for my mom on the way over with her prescription delivery- unbelievable!)

I see the big box pharmacy is offering delivery through Instacart, so that is an option for big box customers if a shopper is available.

Every day can be a new adventure lately just trying to obtain groceries, but I am thankful, grateful, and every appreciative as they allow us to #stayathome #michiganstrong

Don't Forget The Local Hardware Store


Our local Ace Hardware store is open and ready for business. Orders can be placed on the phone or on the website and the items are delivered to your car via curbside pickup. Ace had a birthday last year, read all about the history of Ace by Wednesday Elf !





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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12 comments:

  1. Very helpful advice on grocery and pharmacy delivery services, Tracey. Especially helpful during these difficult times. But I can see such helpfulness and service continuing to be in demand in the future as a boon to many with age and mobility difficulties. Being able to drive up and pick up your groceries and prescriptions all ready for you would be very handy and quite the blessing in many cases.

    Thanks for mentioning the helpfulness of Ace Hardware and my article about it. My local Ace here is still open and serving customers' needs as well as delivering your purchases to your car.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank goodness for our local Ace Hardware! Always so helpful and the curbside delivery is a wonderful service.

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  2. Thanks, Tracey for this useful information. It is certainly helpful during these times. We have been using Instacart with success. We tried using curb side pick up at one of our local stores, but they were so busy that day they cancelled all pick ups. What a great idea for tipping at curb side pick up.

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    Replies
    1. I have heard the same about cancelled deliveries whether it be curbside or on the apps - am always thankful when all parts of the order works :) !

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  3. I do think the area for these services differ greatly. Most likely that is due to the individual employees of an area too. These services have certainly come into their much needed time. Unfortunately, while they were there before "essential" for most of us, our local services do not have a staff large enough to actually take care of the entire area. Plus, the pick-up options for our local stores have become useless. Their response has been they just "have too many orders to handle the demand" and too many employees calling in sick. Okay, well then, don't take the online order. Sadly for us, nothing has worked. Again though, I think this varies by area and I would definitely recommend trying at least once.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree and I also believe the services vary wildly within a small area and neighbor to neighbor. I am sticking with the independent stores and am lucky we have a few in the immediate area.

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  4. A very timely review. I agree that most of the stores are trying their best to meet our needs, but some of the "bigger" delivery services are so inundated with orders that the time frame is just not available. Thanks for the hints. I do like the pick up option.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, everyone is trying, but supply and demand continues to be a huge hurdle in the execution.

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  5. Wow, you've provided a great deal of helpful information here. Thanks for that. I haven't ordered groceries online for years, thought I'd try last week and look at the delivery dates available and thought, forget it. Could tips about stalking the APP. lol. I'll remember that if I ever do go down this virtual road.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is definitely a part time job stalking and looking for a delivery slot...

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  6. Thank you for this information. I've been curious about it. So far I haven't had to use anything but curbside delivery for Walmart and an independent pharmacy. Usually my young neighbor across the street or someone from church calls before they shop to see if I need anything. I miss being able to shop for groceries myself, but I appreciate the convenience of having my groceries delivered. These are great hints for using delivery services. I don't know if we have any independent grocery stores left in my city. I'll have to find out.

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  7. I wish I lived in a place where I could take advantage of these services. I have to drive 60 miles to use curbside services and no one delivers to my area. I'm thankful that others can shelter-in-place and use these types of services. It's a win-win for the business and their customers. Stay safe and be well!

    ReplyDelete



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