Discount grocery shopping online doesn't stack up, yet

10 Oct 11 10:34AM EST
Post by Matthew Steen  Matthew Steen Google Plus
Online shopping illustration

I recently saw that Catch of the Day launched a sister operation called Grocery Run. I’m not new to buying online, however aside from the odd overseas grocery item that I couldn’t get in Australia, I’ve never ordered groceries online locally in Australia. There are options out there from the major food chains, but Grocery Run has a lot of hype about being inexpensive and I wanted to see how it worked.

A quick look through their site and it’s pretty limited. There were around 200 items, and, on the day I checked, they were limited to mostly confectionary and dry goods. It was a little awkward to navigate 200 items in one page. It would be nice if they could sort them into different sections covering confectionary, household, pantry, health and beauty, baby, pet etc.

I ordered a couple of items to see what kind of format signing up and paying would take. I was surprised at how simple it was – aside from a little difficulty in having a different billing versus shipping address that was sorted out after a while. I put my orders in quickly and was sent the invoice and notification of shipping soon after. It took around three business days to ship and had a shipping cost of $11.00. Don’t forget to factor that cost in to your overall savings.

Clearing house pros and cons

I understand that Grocery Run is essentially like a clearing house for items that have been cancelled or deleted from the major grocers and also items that are getting closer to their use-by date. This has both pros and cons associated with it:

  • It’s good that all these grocery items are no longer just being dumped into a tip.
  • It’s good that they are being offered at potentially less expensive prices.
  • However the range is very limited, and bargains may require research.
  • You may not get the brands you are used to and it can be a bit of a pot luck experience.

Depending on where you go you can find some items in other areas of the net for around the same price: however you won’t find fresh foods on the Grocery Run site, so it won’t be the one stop shop that other major online chains might offer.

Not all bargains

At the time I looked, both of the major Australian chains were offering an equal price for some items. For another confectionary item, Grocery Run was 25% of the price of the majors, but the item had a best before date coming up in a month – something not advertised on the Grocery Run site.

One can’t live on sugar alone so if you have the opportunity and the major luxury of time on your side, you can get equal or potentially better bargains elsewhere by using a variety of these sites and comparing them against each other when preparing to shop. Make sure you check the shipping costs for each site though and take advantage of any shipping savings from shopping in bulk.

Until improvements happen for discount grocery shopping online I don’t think I’ll be dipping my toe in those waters for a while. In the meantime, I think the corner store and its larger cousins still have my custom.

If you’ve tried any of the sites offering discounted groceries, what’s your experience been like?

 

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