Online Grocery Delivery Services
Everybody knows that Google delivers search results to your computer screen. Now Google is experimenting with the concept of delivering groceries to your front porch. But they're just one of many online grocery delivery services. Read on to learn how to get your bananas and frozen pizza delivered with just a few clicks…
Don't Forget the Milk!
Google Express has started delivery of fresh foods to homes and businesses in San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, Manhattan, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC, and other cities. With a Google Express membership, delivery is free on eligible orders over $15. New customers can try it free for three months.
Google doesn't have their own grocery stores. You shop for what you need, selecting items from popular stores like Costco, Fairway Market, Target and Walgreens. All your items go into a single online shopping cart. After making payment, a driver brings the order to your address. Same-day delivery within a selected timeframe is the norm, but overnight delivery is also available.
Google is competing against Amazon Fresh and startup Instacart. But these three Silicon Valley darlings are not the only grocery delivery services out there. Competition is heating up, and it may be time to look at this service more closely.
The 1990s saw a host of grocery delivery dot-coms pop up like mushrooms after a rainstorm. Most disintegrated just as fast as unpicked fungi (remember WebVan?). But others, such as Chicago’s Peapod, the Twin Cities/St. Cloud area’s CobornsDelivers, New York City’s FreshDirect, and the greater Toronto area’s Grocery Gateway are still around and even growing in popularity within their limited geographic markets.
“Limited markets” is the operative phrase here. Online grocery shopping and home delivery is an expensive, labor-intensive service to offer, and most of the players in it are either cherry-picking the same handful of affluent, densely populated markets or catering to very local, loyal customers. If you try Amazon Fresh or Instacart, the odds are you’ll be disappointed to find they don’t deliver to your Zip Code.
Comparing Online Grocery Delivery Services
Major supermarket chains, including Safeway and Kroger, clumsily climbed aboard the delivery wagon during the WebVan era. But today, their online shopping sites look like they’re still stuck in the early 1990s. Their high minimum orders ($50 or more) and double-digit delivery fees virtually scream, “We don’t want to do this and you’re going to pay dearly if you make us.” Traditional supermarkets bank on customers coming into their stores; impulse purchases are baked into their business models.
Amazon Fresh debuted with an eye-popping $299 annual membership fee, which includes the benefits of a Prime membership. Recently, Amazon started testing an alternative fee structure in “selected California cities.” Regular $99/year Prime members can get grocery orders of $50 or more delivered for $7.99. Peapod charges delivery fees of $9.95, $7.95, or $6.95 on orders over $100, between $75 and $100, and under $75, respectively.
Instacart’s delivery fees are demand-sensitive, much like Uber’s “surge pricing” fares. During periods when everybody wants their groceries delivered, “a few dollars more” will be added to the base fee, which ranges from $3.99 to $9.99 depending on order size. An “Express Membership” provides free delivery on orders over $35 and costs $99 per year, with a 14-day free trial period.
Walmart Grocery Delivery seems to be available in more suburban, middle-class neighborhoods, and its terms are more generous. Minimum orders are $30 to $35, and delivery fees range from $7 down to zero. You can get free delivery by selecting a two-hour time slot that’s marked with a green leaf (for “environmentally friendly”), indicating that other deliveries are already scheduled in your area during that time period.
I have my doubts that I'll get the freshest food when ordering online. Will they send the day-old bread or wilted produce out with the online orders? And does a kid at Fairway know how to pick an avocado that'll be ripe in two days? On the other hand, it does offer convenience to the home-bound and busy people with limited time to shop. And in some cases, you'll have the ability to compare the price of an item across multiple stores.
It’s unlikely that grocery delivery service will ever be ubiquitous and affordable to all. But there are more options than ever before, and prices keep coming down. If home grocery delivery is of interest to you, it would pay to register your email address at any or all of the sites mentioned here, to be notified when service comes to your area.
Would you shop for groceries online? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 15 Sep 2015
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Online Grocery Delivery Services (Posted: 15 Sep 2015)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved