A few of our readers have asked us about online grocery shopping, and whether we think it’s a good idea. It’s a service I’ve only used myself a few times, as I like wandering in and out of shops and buying a few things at a time. I didn’t have any problems with the service any time I used it, and found it convenient for bulky goods. Tesco and Superquinn both offer online grocery shopping in Ireland.
- You’re less likely to absently throw in a load of things that you don’t need, something many of us do when we’re pushing a trolley ar0und a supermarket.
- It’s a great opportunity to stock up on bulky or heavy goods that you might have trouble bringing home from the shops in one trip. It’s particularly great for people who don’t drive.
- It can be quite time-consuming: you do need to enter alternative products in case what you want is out of stock. You can’t always trust the supermarkets to match your choice with a similar product: our own Maria Crispy once got a €30 salmon casually substituted for one that should have cost €15, and was of course charged the full price. The Guardian has a piece with some hilarious stories about ridiculous substitutions – such as a bottle of white Bordeaux replaced with a pack of sweetcorn. However it’s still less time-consuming than making the trip to the supermarket, wandering around in a daze and then queuing at the checkout.
- I’ve heard from people that regularly use this service that it’s not a great source for fresh fruit and veg – some retailers will use it as an opportunity to get rid of overripe or damaged fruit.
- I’ve also heard that delivery can be erratic, with drivers failing to show up at the promised time.
- The delivery charges can be high, although if you time it right there can be deals for free or cheap delivery.
What do you think of online grocery shopping? Which retailer do you find best? And if any readers work in the industry, I’m really interested to know how the supermarkets make money out of this.