Do you remember when the milkman travelled to towns and villages to deliver milk to your doorstep? Well, without even realizing it, we were already doing a kind of “online” grocery shopping. People would phone in to register for delivery and receive their fresh milk directly to their doors every morning.
Today, there’s no need to phone to get anything. Thanks to the Internet, we buy clothes, books, trips, electronic devices, etc., but there is one thing that we resist buying online – food products. Knowing that more than 80% of Canadians made online purchases in 2013, we wonder why buying food line doesn’t come to us as naturally as buying clothes!
To help orient you in the era of virtual grocery shopping, Arctic Gardens conducted a study of 1,812 Canadians last October. We wanted to learn about people’s online food shopping habits. In this article, we’ll present the results to you. Why don’t people use this service very much? What are perceived benefits for our respondents? As a bonus, we created an easy instruction guide for those who’d like to give it a try! Now, everyone to their cybercarts!
A little grocery shopping history
Let’s go back in time a little to see how people did their grocery shopping through time.
5 reasons we hesitate to do virtual grocery shopping
Even if online purchasing is exploding today, we’ve noticed that consumers keep a certain distance from buying food online. In fact, our survey showed us that 90% of respondents claim that they’ve never bought groceries online. We wanted to push a little more by asking what’s stopping them from doing it.
- I like going out to get groceries.
- I prefer to choose my own food than to let someone else to it.
- I let myself be inspired by the food offer that I see when in the aisles.
- I can’t use my coupons for online grocery shopping. It’s true that you can’t use them on the website, but maybe it’s possible to show them when you pick up your order at the store.
- I believe that the cost or pricing for online grocery service is higher. Note than the prices posted online are the same as in-store at the time you do your groceries.
4 reasons to do your groceries online
Even if the majority of our respondents claimed that they’ve never bought groceries online, they still gave us 4 reasons why they’d like to try it.
Save time and reduce going out
We all know just how precious time is when we have a family to take care of. We’re constantly looking for ways to save time and doing groceries online can be part of that. Whether you’re in the subway on your smartphone or on a lunch break at work, you can do your groceries at any time. And forget about the time it takes to go out, stand in line and find parking. In a few clicks, you’ll have everything you need to prepare your meals for the week.
To do groceries anytime
Did you know that doing groceries online in winter is the most coveted? It’s not surprising. With the northern temperatures that we have, would could say no to going to the virtual supermarket from the comfort of home? However, the idea of doing your groceries online shouldn’t be limited to wintertime. Imagine the plethora of possibilities: doing groceries on your lunch hour, during commercials while watching your favourite drama, when the kids are sleeping and why not during the night!
To compare prices more easily
For most products online, you can quickly find the price per unit of measurement (100 g or 100 ml). This means it’d be easier for you to quickly compare different formats and choose the best product.
At the grocery store, this information is often found on the box in small print which means we often forget to check it. Always do this: it’s a good way to shop smart at the grocery store!
To better manager your grocery list
A benefit of grocery shopping online is that you’ll never miss a product because you can access your account and add it to your cart. Better yet, by doing your groceries from home, you’re always able to check what’s left in the pantry or what’s missing. Good bye, forgetfulness!
Some grocery stores also let you create shopping lists that you can save to your account. From the time you do your groceries online, you just have to transfer the list to your virtual cart and voila! It’s done!
Easy online grocery instruction guide
For you, we’ve prepared a little guide to familiarize yourself with how online grocery shopping works. You’ll see – regardless of which virtualy grocery store you choose, the same principles apply.
1 – Create an account on your favourite platform
Creating an account will give you a more personalized shopping experience. Your profile and orders will be saved so that it’s faster the next time you order.
2 – Choosing a pickup time
At some banners, the pickup charge can vary according to the day of the week or not. At Loblaws, pickup will cost a little bit more on the weekends, whereas Save on Foods offers free pickup. Walmart has a $3 charge. Also note that some stores offer home delivery service.
3 – Choose your store
This step is very important because you avoid going halfway around the world to get your order. Choose the supermarket closest to your home or work because that’s where your order is put together.
4 – Add food to your virtual cart
Shop by brand, category, alphabetical order and even from the weekly flyer. Don’t forget to enter the quantity.
Know also that the price posted on online grocery store sites when you’re shopping are the same as the in-store price that same day. You can take advantage of rebates as if you were in the store.
5 – Leave comments with the clerk
In this way, you’ll get exactly what you want.
6 – Confirm your order
The grocery clerk will select your products while keeping in mind your requirements and prepare your order for the requested date and time of pickup or delivery.
7 – Enter your credit card number
Some supermarkets like Loblaws and IGA.NET give you the choice of paying upon receipt of your order with cash, debit or credit.
8 – Take advantage of the time saved
Cooking the week’s meals, doing things with your family or taking time just for yourself, online groceries is perfect for all of that!
6 things you should know before you grocery shop online
Get familiar with the platform
Don’t rely on the time it takes do make your first online order since it’s obvious that it’ll take a little longer. You have to register, get used to the platform and functionality, choose your products, etc. However, once the first order has been made, the others will be done in just a click – or maybe two! We know that 70% of the cart will be the same week after week, so your next orders will definitely be faster.
Know the value of your order
When you do your groceries online, it’s important to realize that your virtual cart will have a certain value that must be accepted. Make sure you properly check this information. Here’s a little reminder for the various grocery stores:
Choose how you’d like to receive your order
Don’t forget to choose how you’d like to receive your groceries. Depending on your preference or availability, you can either go directly to the store to pick up your order or have it delivered to your home.
Even though several supermarkets offer home delivery, make sure to check if you live in the delivery area by entering your postal code.
Expect a delay
You should plan time between ordering your groceries and pickup/delivery. It’s not an instantaneous service: the clerk has to choose your products and assemble your order. Some grocery stores let you order well in advance and go pick it up the following week.
Know your products well
As you can’t always check the list of ingredients or the nutrition facts table, don’t be shy to consult your product websites. They can provide a wealth of information. Also, the next time you go to a grocery store, take notes on the nutritional information of your main products so you’ll always have them on hand!
Add specifications to your order
We recommend that you add comments to your order, if possible. This way, you’ll receive products as if you’ve chosen them yourself! Be specific by mentioning that you’d like to have ripe tomatoes, for example.
Loblaws, IGA.NET and Save on Foods give you the option of substituting if your product is no longer available. If you activate this option, the clerk will make sure to find you a replacement item.
Online groceries for foodies
Besides the big food chains that offer online grocery service, we’ve noticed that more and more companies are offering fresh, local and organic products.
Of course, we go outside traditional products to go towards another line of food, but they can be an interesting solution for those who don’t want to do all of their groceries online. Here are just a few:
- Farms & Forks: This family business works with Ontario producers to deliver the best health, organic and fresh products to your home. You can choose groceries from a vast selection of meat, fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, grains and even complete meals!
- Whole Foods Market: This is a grocery store that offers entirely natural and organic products. The supermarket provides all the products you’ll need, but all organic.
- Natural Food Pantry: This company is a genuine healthy pantry. It offers gluten-free products, organic meat, but also natural and eco-friendly beauty products.
Before ordering your groceries online the first time, get information about the various food merchants. Don’t hesitate doing research to determine which supermarket is most convenient for you. Even better, go directly to the store to get information about their online grocery service. The more informed you are, the more you can take advantage of this tool and the more pleasant it’ll be for you! Doing your groceries online isn’t only a good way to save time, but another way to get through your grocery list faster and resist the temptation of buying things you don’t need. Are you ready to try the virtual experience?