How-to: Order Groceries Online

March 2, 2021

My best tips for ordering your groceries online, Delivery vs. Pick-up, and how to determine what the best fit is for you!

More people are ordering their groceries online than ever before. Nearly all of the big grocery stores, like Walmart and Kroger, now offer their own online grocery shopping services. So does Whole Foods, through Amazon Fresh orders. I’ve used all of the services listed above for grocery pick-up over the past year and find them all to be fairly user friendly. If you’re looking to simplify even more, grocery delivery with Instacart or Shipt might be worth considering (I used Instacart for a Costco delivery every other week!). The biggest difference between grocery pick up and grocery delivery with these services are personal shoppers that go into the stores and delivery your groceries to your door.

After nearly a year of almost exclusively shopping for my groceries online, I’ve pulled together my best tips for making this as easy (and successful) as possible. I have fully converted– and whether there’s a global pandemic or not, I don’t think I’ll ever give up the convenience of ordering my groceries online!

Shop the same time each week

The best way to approach online grocery orders is to put a system in place. That means setting aside the same time each week to order your groceries. For me, that’s Sunday morning. Throughout the week I keep a running list of grocery needs using our Alexa. That way if anyone else in the family needs something, they can also add it to the list. When I sit down to start filling my cart, I look at the list Alexa generates and add those things first.

If there are certain items you order every week (milk, apples, bread, etc.) make sure you “favorite” them in your account so that your shopping goes even faster.

Get an early time slot

While I sit down to fill my online shopping cart on Sunday morning, I don’t schedule a pick up until early Monday morning. That’s because I’ve found that an earlier time slot means that there’s a greater likelihood that all of your items will be in stock. It also gives me the rest of my day to add to my order if there are things I forgot.

Sign up for text alerts

I’m always hesitant about signing up for any sort of text alert, but I’m a fan when it comes to dealing with my grocer. With text alerts, you’ll get substitution recommendations when something is out of stock. This is crucial as I hear over and over again that the biggest pain point for online grocery orders is frustration when something is out of stock. It wouldn’t have been in stock if you had walked into the store yourself, but the ability to approve or reject a substitution is a far more efficient way to fulfill your shopping list. You can also predetermine certain replacements that come in handy as well.

Grocery Pick-up vs. Delivery

Grocery delivery is certainly easier than pick-up, but it’s usually a bit more expensive. There’s potentially a delivery fee, expectation to tip, and sometimes a markup in price. Grocery pick-up is typically free if you order a certain amount of groceries. I don’t think I’ve ever paid for the service, but it does require a bit more planning.

I actually do both. I’ve been a Costco shopper for years, so I utilize the Instacart service Costco offers since I’m convinced that by not physically going into the store, I save money. The service fee is included in my Costco membership, but I do tip my shopper. For grocery pickup, I follow the system above. I’ve found that I need a traditional grocery to compliment my big box store shopping.