Skip the lines at the grocery store and head to your computer to order food for dinner tonight. If you haven’t already dipped your toes into the waters of online grocery shopping, now is the time to try it.
Shopping for groceries via apps and websites is nothing new. However, the demand for their services has reached new heights as more people are trying to stay at home. Existing companies have had to adjust their safety measures, due to the new shopping trends, and some have added features to make grocery delivery more convenient for consumers.
Buying groceries online is just like any other digital purchase. Depending on which app you use, you’ll have the chance to browse what is in stock and fill up your virtual shopping cart. Some companies, like Instacart, function by employing shoppers to take your place in the store. Others, like Thrive Market, can pull inventory from their partnered brands and send your food order directly to you.
The best way to choose an online grocery service is to understand what type of experience you want, what products you need and how quickly you need your groceries delivered. Each service is different and all have various delivery, service and membership fees. We evaluated five popular online grocery services to make it easier for you to find the right fit.
Minimum Order: $35
Delivery Fee: $10 delivery fee for orders below $35
Membership: Prime membership required, $12.99/yr
If you’re looking for a wide selection, Amazon Fresh is the way to go. Amazon Fresh offers numerous store name brands in addition to their own “fresh” brand.
If you’re already familiar with Amazon, you’ll have no problem shopping for groceries. Everything is categorized by food type and rated by users. So if you feel like it, you can read reviews left from 588 people before purchasing a pound of ground beef.
Amazon Fresh also carries household items, like cleaning supplies, paper products and items used for storage.
Minimum Order: $10
Delivery Fee: Starts at $4, can increase based on size of order and delivery time
Membership: Instacart Express is their optional membership program; members get unlimited free deliveries on orders over $35, can order from multiple stores in one order for no extra fee, and never pay for “busy pricing”; Annual membership is $99/yr
Using Instacart, you can shop at your favorite local stores and popular chains, like Costco, online. Instacart makes it easy to understand their service by incorporating videos for first time users, which is why they are one of the most popular services in the industry. The app also offers same day delivery in select cities and shopping deals for members.
You don’t have to become an Instacart member to use the grocery service, but if you do, you’ll enjoy free delivery all year long for $99 annually.
Minimum Order: $30
Delivery Fee: Ranges between $7-10 based on order size
Membership: Previously offered Podpass at $119/yr for discounted deliveries; the program may have been discontinued
Online grocery shopping company Peapod is a great service for both homeowners and businesses. The company is an online grocery pioneer, and has been operating since 1989. Peapod customers can filter their items by dietary needs and choose either next-day delivery or same day delivery (in select cities).
One cool feature that Peapod offers is their meal kit section. You can order pre-measured and pre-chopped kits to make cooking even easier. They also deliver alcohol depending on where you shop!
Minimum Order: $35
Delivery Fee: $7 delivery fee for orders below $35
Membership: $14.99 per month, but there is a 2 week free trial; Members receive free delivery for all orders over $35
Target acquired the grocery store shopping app Shipt in 2017. The experience is similar to Instacart, except Shipt also fulfills orders for household goods and other groceries from places like Petco, Office Depot, Sur la Table and of course, Target.
As a former Shipt shopper myself, I can vouch for the service’s promise of “discerning shoppers” and “produce perfectionists.” Shoppers can text and talk to customers in the app in case they need to substitute an item. Customers can even add on items in real time before the shopper checks out.
Minimum Order: $49, free shipping on first order over $25
Delivery Fee: Delivery included with membership
Membership: Membership required, $59/yr
Unlike Instacart and Shipt, Thrive Market specializes in organic and non-GMO brands. Health conscious shoppers can find over 6,000 food, home, and beauty products curated by the site. You can shop by diet, like vegan or keto, or browse through the site to find all-natural, sustainable products you might be unfamiliar with. Even their packaging is 100% recyclable.
Thrive Market is a membership based program so delivery is included in the $59/yr price tag. Members can also enjoy member-only Thrive Market deals, free gifts and samples.
The convenience that online grocery services offer can quickly be glanced over if you cannot get your items quickly. Luckily, there are other options besides those listed above.
This unprecedented demand for groceries coupled with the necessity of social distancing, has also revolutionized the restaurant business. With the dining rooms temporarily closed, many restaurants have added grocery items like produce, flour, bread and rice to their menus. Now, people can grab necessities from their favorite eateries, while supporting local businesses.
Whether you choose to use an online service or try out curbside pickup from a restaurant, it’s helpful to know that you have options to get your groceries conveniently and safely. Shopping online for your products can help you safe money, especially if companies offer coupons and discounts for first time users. With all of the information out there, now it is your turn to choose the best online grocery service for you!
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