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Delivery or Pickup: Which is Better for Groceries?

Does grocery shopping seem to be a tedious chore for you? All that walking in aisles, queueing in checkout counters, and bringing the groceries to the car can drain out your remaining energy if you go shopping after work. And after grocery shopping and parking right into the garage, there’s still work of unloading the groceries into the pantry and storage areas.

Thanks to online grocery shopping, you can all do it in the comforts of our home. You just need to search and click items you need to buy on a retailer’s shopping website, and you have the option of whether to pick it up or have it delivered to your doorstep.

Same-day delivery for groceries is becoming popular nowadays. This offering from significant retailers grew by 500% in 2018, according to CommonSense Robotics, a grocery e-commerce startup. This report, based on analysis of retailer data, states that click and collect locations from major grocery stores grew by 230% in the same year. Online grocery shopping has changed how retailers sell their products.

The rise in grocery delivery was pioneered by Instacart, who partnered with more than 300 grocers to make grocery delivery widely available. The presence of Instacart fueled healthy competition in the industry as many retailers designed their delivery services.

Delivery vs. Pickup

When it comes to same-day deliveries and in-store pickups, most consumers prefer the former by a 4:1 ratio. However, most retailers have focused their resources on click and collect method. In 2018, Target was the only brick-and-mortar grocer that makes same-day delivery its primary focus. But is same-day delivery better? To even it out, here are the pros and cons of both grocery services:

Pros:

1. Time-saving

Obviously, shopping for groceries online saves time. You may still need to make a grocery list, but the typing in each item or looking for them in categories is much faster than physically walking in the grocery aisles. With online shopping, you can do it in your PJs from the couch.

2. Convenience

With online grocery shopping, you don’t need to walk to and fro the aisles fro so you can buy everything you need. And if you don’t like being seen by people because you’re an introvert or if you simply don’t want to interact, this can be your solution for your problems. With grocery delivery, you don’t have to leave your house. With grocery pickup, you just need to park your car in the grocery, dial a number, and have a store associate bring you your groceries. They even put it in your trunk willingly and free of charge. You don’t need to unclip your seatbelt and get out of your car.

3. Use of digital coupons

Digital coupons and rewards are readily available for many grocery stores. For some grocers like Krogers, items with active coupons show a checkbox under the description. All you need to do is to click apply and buy the item at a discounted price. Some grocers even add discounts for pickup customers. Some chains offer incentives like free pick up when you purchase a specific product or a certain number of items.

Cons:

1. Substitution

In many cases, stores just make an effort to give you the same or better product if the product you requested is unavailable. Many platforms allow a buyer to review substitutions and have the option to accept or reject them before the actual delivery or pickup, but you don’t get to look for every possible replacement. If you’re at the actual store, you would want to look them over.

2. Not being able to pick produce and fresh goods

When it comes to packed goods, you may have no problem having another person pick for you. But when you opt for online grocery shopping, you don’t get to pick out individual fruits, veggies, or meats yourself. Someone else makes a choice for you. You don’t get to pick the freshest chicken by your standards, the bananas with just the right ripeness, or the perfect no-bruise apples. Yes, you know that’s what you sacrifice for convenience, but that’s a risk you have to take.

3. Needs a learning curve for beginners

If it’s your first time to do grocery shopping online, you are prone to making mistakes. Some experience forgetting to apply coupons for items they would not have bought if there’s no big discount, while some may mistakenly order a single banana instead of a bunch. There are things you may overlook, and it’s a learning curve.

Grocery Pickup Service

Grocery pickup is a service provided by a grocer in which you can click and collect. What you need to do is to order your goods online, and an associate at the grocery store packs it for you. Then at a time frame set by you, you have to pick up the goods yourself. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of this set-up:

Pros:

  • More stores offer pickup service options rather than delivery service. Some tend to contract it out for delivery, so if you prefer to transact directly with a store and not with a third party, then this is the better option for you.
  • It costs less than a delivery service. A pickup may include fees, but it’s cheaper compared to opting for delivery.
  • If there are wrong items or substitutions for out of stock products, you can accept or refuse it at the time of pickup.

Cons:

  • You still need to leave your house to get your groceries. If you have mobility issues or extreme symptoms, even the convenience of grocery pickup will not be enough.
  • You still need to groom yourself even a little before going on the road.
  • If you don’t like to interact with people more than you want to, then it’s not a good option for you. When it comes to pickup service, you may need to talk to the associate, so they will know where you are parked.
  • You still have to unload your groceries when you get home.

Stores that offer pickup service:

  • Kroger
  • Walmart
  • Target
  • Costco
  • Randall’s
  • HEB
  • Sam’s Club
  • Aldi

Grocery Delivery Service

In terms of convenience, this is an easier option. You just need to click and select your items to buy, and someone will bring them all into your house for you.

Pros:

  • You don’t have to groom yourself, leave the house, and drive your car to get groceries restocked.
  • Delivery services are popping up everywhere, so if you live in an area where there’s not a lot of pickup stores available, then there’s probably a delivery service available to you.

Cons:

  • Because of the delivery fee, this method of shopping costs more than grocery pickup services.
  • If there are errors or unwanted substitutions, you’ll be stuck with whatever item shows up at your door, unless you are willing to drive and return it to the store.
  • You may need to tip the delivery person. Tipping is not allowed at most grocery store pickups.

Some stores that offer grocery delivery service:

  • Walmart
  • Instacart
  • Amazon Fresh
  • Shipt
  • Peapod
  • Vons
  • Google Express

Which is Better?

Both services have their own merits, but to answer which one is better is up to you. It depends on your preferences and circumstances. If you simply have no time or are unable to go to the store, choose delivery. If you want to save up on fees, choose pickup.

When it comes to preference, research from Brick Meets Click show that nearly 75% of shoppers would prefer delivery over the pickup, if given a choice. It’s a more convenient option. But click and collect continues to play a large role in grocery shopping because of the benefits it offers to both shoppers and retailers.

Pickup services use the existing store space and costs consumers less. Pickup services also offer shoppers the flexibility to go in the store if in case they forgot to add something on their grocery cart. On their way, customers can also pick up prescription meds or get something they can’t order online. Picking up the groceries add to their agenda as to why they drove in the way of the store, making the gas consumed worth it. It also offers customer service and personal connection for the shoppers.

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