Online Grocery Delivery: Is One of These Services Right for You?
Amazon Prime members who need nonperishables, especially items that are heavy (such as laundry detergent), can turn to AmazonPrimePantry. Users pay $5.99 to fill a box with 45 pounds worth of household items that is mailed to their homes. There are more than 12,000 items in Amazon's pantry -- anything found in a grocery store except for produce, dairy, or meat. Shoppers can see how much of the box has filled after adding an item to the cart. As usual with Amazon, prices are very competitive.
This online food delivery service sources many of its offerings from local farms and artisanal producers and also sells brand-name groceries. Aside from the tried and true, customers can order meal kits and exotic meats and cheeses. Prices are not cheap (an 18-ounce box of Cheerios costs $5.99 compared with $3.99 at many supermarkets, for example), although there are frequent sales and coupons. Delivery costs $5.99 (higher in some areas), but a Delivery Pass membership, for $119 annually, waives delivery fees and ensures a permanent delivery time slot. FreshDirect delivers in New York City and some parts of the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut), Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
Google Express partners with retailers of all stripes, so a same-day or overnight delivery could contain both rice and a saw blade. It does not, however, deliver anything requiring refrigeration or special handling, and extra fees apply for delivery of certain items, such as alcoholic beverages. The price of the merchandise mirrors what shoppers would pay in-store. Next-day delivery is free with a Google Express membership ($95 annually or $10 monthly); nonmembers pay $4.99 with a minimum order (varies by store). If a requested item is unavailable, in-store shopping teams select a substitute. This shopping portal occasionally runs promotions. Delivery service for nonperishables is available in northern and southern California, Manhattan, Chicago, Boston, and Washington, D.C. Google Express is testing delivery of refrigerated groceries in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
One of the first online groceries, NetGrocer delivers anywhere via FedEx, including APO and FPO addresses. Customers don't have to sign for orders, so there's no need to wait at home. Shipping charges vary by order size and delivery location, starting at $9.99 and increasing as orders exceed $25 and extend farther west. Delivery is expected within three days. Groceries are searchable and arranged alphabetically by category on the site; frequently ordered items can be saved to a separate list. NetGrocer also stocks health and beauty aids. It offers frequent sales, coupons, and promotions, and prices are generally competitive with traditional supermarkets.
Safeway supermarkets offer home delivery wherever Safeway stores are located. A $12.95 delivery fee is charged on orders between $49 and $150; the fee is $9.95 after that. There are frequent promotions for free or discounted delivery. The curbside "drive up and go" service, with a six-hour pickup window at the store, is free for orders greater than $150 and costs $3 for smaller orders. Consumers can save shopping lists so that items ordered frequently pop up automatically; products bought with a loyalty card are added to the shopping history. Most goods are available at in-store prices and all coupons and sales are valid. Unlike most online grocery delivery services, Safeway accepts EBT benefits (food stamps) as payment from customers with disabilities.
Personal shoppers are integral to ShopRite From Home, which means orders can be personalized, up to the thickness of deli meat slices. They inquire about substitutions and deal with any delivery issues. ShopRite charges a $5 service fee (for finding and packing groceries) and a $6.95 delivery fee for orders less than $150 (zero after that); curbside pickup costs $5.95. Products and prices for home delivery are the same as those in the store, and include sale and promotional items. Online shoppers must have a loyalty card.