From milk and eggs to exotic fruits and wines, online grocery shopping is a great option for the busy consumer. Maybe you hate the crowded aisles and fluorescent lighting of your local grocery store, or are frustrated by sold-out items or hard-to-find delicacies. Perhaps your busy schedule and ever increasing commute times keep you from the grocery store. Or maybe other factors, such as a disability or a single parent household, make it hard to find the time to shop for groceries. Luckily, you do have online options - both your neighborhood grocery and online grocery stores are available to take the stress and complication out of grocery shopping - for a nominal fee, of course.
Taking Shopping To The Next Level
You've shopped for clothing, magazine subscriptions and consumer goods online, so why not take it to the next level with online grocery shopping?
- Many neighborhood groceries are beginning to offer the online option. For example, some Kroger stores such as King Soopers, Safeway, and other local stores have online shopping options in some areas.
- Even better, small specialty stores such as delicatessens, wine shops and bakeries are offering more and more online options and may give you the opportunity to order groceries for delivery online.
- A simple Google search for the names of local stores will bring up their web sites and online options, if applicable.
- Bear in mind that not all areas have access to online shopping - some stores are still testing out their online programs or have not branched out onto the World Wide Web.
- Be prepared to be unable to select individual items such as the ripest apples and oranges without a visit to the store's physical location.
- Certain brand names may have limited online availability, and many stores have a required minimum purchase amount for online orders.
- Other options include all-online grocery shopping services, such as Netgrocer, which delivers groceries via FedEx. This service allows you to remember past orders or place a standing order on some goods, and is available wherever FedEx ships.
- If you prefer to let someone else do the cooking, you might want to consider an online meal preparation and shopping service such as DineWise, which provides ready-to-cook entrees and sides for busy working families.
- There are thousands of specialty merchants on the Web - a simple Web search will reveal everything from Russian delicacies to Texan hot sauce, ready to be ordered for your next potluck or family gathering.
Notwithstanding these warnings, the benefits of convenient, time-saving online grocery shopping often outweigh the limitations of these services.
Things To Know
Before you commit to shopping online, make sure to familiarize yourself with the business and its policies. If possible, choose a store you know and trust. A neighborhood storefront presence allows you to have peace of mind and talk to a manager in person, if possible. However, online stores should always have a complaint line or toll-free number to call in case of a mix-up or change in your order. Just because you're placing your order online doesn't mean you should compromise on freshness, quality or accuracy when ordering online groceries. Know your vendor's complaint and return policy and don't be afraid to use it. Make sure to protect your personal information when shopping online - credit card information can be vulnerable if your online store does not provide encryption such as Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology. Write down scheduled deliveries on your calendar to ensure that your food is delivered fresh and on time.
The Future of Online Grocery Shopping
Trends seem to be leading towards local companies offering delivery service that can be ordered online, hearkening back to the "good old days" of the milkman and the grocery man. Until virtual reality allows consumers to pick out every fruit and vegetable and specify size and quality, it is unlikely that online grocery shopping will be the number one choice for anything but dry staples. But online shopping does have great potential for consumers, taking away one more chore in a climate of high gas prices and increasing work hours. Try it - you may find that shopping for your groceries online relieves you of a burdensome errand and frees up some precious time to spend with family and friends.