5 mistakes people make when ordering groceries online

October 19, 2020

Remember the days when you would drop into the grocery store on the way home from work? Or anytime just because you ran out of something or had a craving? The pandemic has changed all that. Now we grocery shop less often, spend a lot more money, and rarely step inside a grocery store.

It’s no longer about squeezing the avocados or browsing for new brands and flavours. Today, it’s about buying our groceries efficiently, safely, and often in bulk. Here are five common mistakes people make when ordering groceries online, and how you can avoid them.

5 mistakes people make when ordering groceries online

Photo Credit: iStock.com/ rh2010

1. Not planning ahead

While many places in Canada can get groceries delivered within two hours, it can still be challenging to book a delivery or pickup slot at your desired retailer. Weekends as well as morning and afternoon rush hours are the most popular and book up quickly. For the best choice of slots, book at least three days in advance, and observe what time of day your preferred grocer releases new slots. Many grocers' online ordering systems are updated at midnight.

2. Not keeping a list (and ignoring the flyer)

Maintaining a running grocery list not only helps with meal planning but saves a great deal of time when it comes to online ordering. Many grocery ordering platforms can help by suggesting a reorder on items you purchased previously, and some allow you to build your list within their app. A good list is your shopping road map, but be sure to always visit the online flyer to snag the weekly specials. And don’t forget to check the fridge and pantry before you shop to reduce the wasteful rebuying of items you already have.

3. Not comparing the fees (and forgetting to tip)

Service fees and delivery fees vary widely by region and retailer, so it’s worth it to compare before you click and confirm your order. Some stores charge a flat delivery fee, others offer free delivery with a minimum purchase while click-and-collect service is usually free. Extra charges deter some online shoppers, while others find the convenience factor well worth the fee. If you opt for delivery service, don’t forget to tip the driver—these essential workers are still heading out to work each day during the pandemic so you don’t have to.

4. Saying ‘no’ to substitutions

It might be hard to let go and trust a total stranger to make changes to your grocery order, but this is the best way to ensure your order is complete when it arrives. A substitution will often be a similar brand or the same product in a different size. You can usually leave a message for your shopper in the notes section, where you can identify any important brand preferences or special dietary needs.

5. Not shopping local

Canadian consumers are spoiled for choice when it comes to online grocery shopping. There are the big grocery chains, of course, plus Costco, Amazon, and Walmart. Delivery services like Uber Eats, Instacart, and Cornershop all bring groceries to your door, and that’s just the big names. With new, local players joining the in-demand online grocery game every day it’s a great time to shop around. Independent or specialty stores and even restaurants have quickly set-up e-commerce websites to be able to serve your online grocery needs. Wholesalers who have been hurt by restaurant closures have pivoted to offer home delivery, and meal kit delivery services now offer groceries as an add-on.

Take the time to explore local options and discover meat, produce, and specialty ingredients you might not get from a big chain store.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
Close menu