Online food ordering has already become normal even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Although some grocers have also started offering similar services, it didn’t pick up until recently, when people were advised to remain home to prevent the spread of the virus.
As online food ordering is a relatively new feature, many people may still find it quite challenging to use so they aren’t able to maximize its benefits. If you’re the same, you may need to do a bit of research to take full advantage of the services offered by online supermarkets.
To help you out, this article compiles six smart tips for shopping for groceries online.
1. Plan what to buy
One of the major pitfalls of buying online – be it groceries or any other product – is impulsivity. But just because you can click or tap on something you like to own it doesn’t mean you have to do it.
Instead of ordering as the need arises, it would be better to plan ahead of your grocery shopping needs. This will not only reduce impulsive purchases but also help you manage your pantry well.
Planning your groceries before you add to cart also has several other advantages:
Research shows that using a list when shopping for groceries helps people make healthier choices that can sometimes lead to weight loss.
Having a grocery list makes it easier to pick between similar options, as the decision has already been made when you wrote the list.
If you find it hard to decide what to include in your grocery list, it is good to make a weekly meal plan first. When you know what you would eat for your breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner, you should be able to determine what ingredients and condiments you need to buy.
Separating items according to their categories is also a good idea to streamline the process.
When planning your weekly groceries, make sure that you order all items that are close to running out. Don’t wait until your last sip of milk before you decide to add it to your grocery list. Doing so will also leave some leeway for the shopper in case you order at the same time a huge wave grocery orders come.
2. Be ready with substitutes
Another important thing you must remember when shopping for groceries online is to be prepared to substitute. Remember that inventory for online orders may not be the same as what’s in the store, and there may be brands that will not be available on occasion.
It is also worth noting that every outlet will substitute brands a bit differently, but each will have more than one option on how they normally handle the situation. To hasten the process, pre-select replacement options for every item on your list.
3. Don’t be afraid of imperfections
One of the common fears in online grocery shopping is not being able to pick the best ingredients. But thinking that you’d end up with bananas that are still green or have more spots than you like shouldn’t hold you back.
The truth is, whether or not you’re the one picking out food items, sometimes some of it may not be up to your expectations. If you’re truly wary of low-quality products, the best thing you must do is stick to reliable online grocery stores.
Besides this, you must keep in mind that the sheer convenience of online grocery shopping greatly outweighs a few minor flaws in the item. In fact, the fact that you get the opportunity to restock your pantry without risking going out during the COVID-19 pandemic is priceless.
4. Choose pickup over delivery
If you’re still worried that the delivery of your groceries will not come on time, try choosing store pickup instead. Many grocery chains are already offering this kind of service pre-COVID.
This process is simple: you order, drive to the store, call in to let them know you’re there, and they load the groceries to your trunk. Now you’re ready to drive away with a fresh load of ingredients.
The best part is, the items you ordered are bagged even before you arrive, so the pickup process lasts only a few minutes.
Curbside pickup can help you save money as well, not to mention it might be a more viable choice if there’s no one home to receive your goods during specific delivery time. The convenience is priceless, especially if you have little children in the car.
5. Study how the app or online store works
What many people neglect to do before shopping for fresh produce and goods online is to understand how the app or online store truly works.
It is important to remember that not all grocery delivery services are the same. Some offer same-day delivery with the same delivery fee, but the items would be priced much higher than what you would normally see in grocery stores.
Besides the price, how things work may also be different. For instance, adding to cart does not automatically mean the items are reserved for you. In some cases, products get bought by other people if they are left in your virtual cart for a while.
Some online grocery services or platforms work as a sort of personal shopper. Once they get your list, they hit the aisles and look for the items you want to buy. After completing the list, a driver grabs your packed groceries before delivering them to you.
Knowing how the platform or app works will help save you from disappointment as you would know exactly what to expect. The knowledge would also serve you well when it comes to disputes and missing items.
6. Befriend your shopper
In case you’re using an online grocery service provider that acts as a personal shopper for you, make sure that you establish rapport with them.
Leaving a good rating for a well-delivered service increases your chances of getting the same shopper to do your groceries. Dropping emojis and gifs when you chat with them and sending more friendly messages and well-wishes for their safety also leaves them more motivated to do a good job.
But why do you need to know and befriend your shopper? There are plenty of benefits to this, including getting insider knowledge on new stocks in certain stores, more efficient grocery shopping, and many others.
Shop Smart Online
Smart shopping is made even more possible now that online grocery stores are available. Make sure that you take full advantage of its benefits by following the tips listed in this article.