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Can Moms save time with online grocery shopping?

Have you ever tried it?

Don’ worry!  Neither had I!

I’m always getting ads in the mail and emails in my inbox inviting me to try online grocery shopping, though.

I am all about saving time … but I just didn’t know if I would like online shopping for groceries.

I Had Questions

Here are some of the questions I had:

– Would online grocery shopping really save me time, or would it be more trouble than it was worth?

– Would the system be hard to figure out?

– Would it cost me more?

– Would they have the options and brands available that I wanted?

– I am used to doing my own grocery shopping, selecting my own produce, etc. Would it feel weird to not be choosing those types of items myself?

Just Try It

Well, I finally decided to just break down and try it.  Knowing that I wanted to write this blog post for all of you to benefit from became part of my motivation.

I got you!

 Here’s How I Chose my Store

I decided to try Walmart’s online grocery shopping service.  My first reason for choosing them is that their stores tend to be nationwide, whereas my local grocery store is found in my state only.

Second, I needed all types of items.  I really did have quite a large list this time, and it was not limited to food items only.  This month is Birthday Month in my household (5 out of our 8 birthdays are in September), and I also am getting ready to send two of my children out of the country on extended mission trips for our Church.

Therefore, my shopping list was long and a bit complicated.

I figured that Walmart was likely to have most of the things I needed, so I determined to give it a try.

Note to self:  I will have to try the online shopping option for my local grocery store in the near future, just for comparison’s sake.

Here’s What Happened

I logged onto their website.  That was easy.

Choosing my items and adding them to the cart seemed very intuitive.  I just typed what I needed into the search bar and all my choices popped up for me to review.

They had most of the things I typed in … but not all of them.

Arrgghhhh.

There was one item that I knew for a fact they carried – a collapsible travel umbrella – but it did not appear when I searched for it.  All the system showed me were full-sized umbrellas (no good for travel) and an umbrella that can attach to a camp chair.

Nope!

So I skipped over travel umbrellas and went on with my shopping.

This happened a few more times, where either the item didn’t pop up at all, or it was listed as out of stock.

I simply circled those items on my list and went on with my shopping.

The Long and Short of It

When all was said and done, I placed 35 items in my cart and it took about 50 minutes.  I shopped in the afternoon, so “same day” pick up was not available.

My earliest option was 7:00 the next morning.  I wasn’t feeling quite that ambitious, so I chose 9:00 AM.  Once I clicked on that button, the system told me that I had between 9:00 – 10:00 AM to pick up my order.

They also encouraged me to download their Walmart Grocery Shopping app.  [I tried doing this but it didn’t go smoothly, so I gave up on it for now.]

 The Next Morning

The next morning, at 8:50 AM, I received an email that my order was ready.  They told me that they had made 2 substitutions, but that I had the right to either accept or reject those substitutions at pick-up.

The first exchange was one brand of Macadamia nuts for another.  The price was almost identical.  I was fine with that replacement.

The second one was regular vanilla in place of clear vanilla.  This was not okay.  I already had regular vanilla, but I needed the clear stuff.

I was told that all the other items I had ordered were available and ready for me.

They also sent me a nice map of the store, showing me where to park for pick-up. Very helpful.

I drove over to the store and pulled into one of the appointed parking spaces.  There was a sign there indicating which parking slot I was in (I was in #6) and what phone number to call to let them know I had arrived.

Within a few minutes, a Walmart employee came out wheeling a cart with many blue bins on it.  Inside those bins were grocery sacks containing my order.

The employee mentioned the 2 substitutions to me and asked if I wanted them.  I asked to see them both.  I was still okay with the new nuts, as I explained, but I turned down the vanilla.

The employee cheerfully removed it from my order and had me sign his electronic device.  I was good to go.

Shopping Inside

Now, because I really wanted to find my travel umbrellas, and because I’d thought of several more things I needed, I parked in the regular parking lot and went inside the store.

This time, I still needed items from many departments throughout the store.

I found my 2 travel umbrellas, no problem.

I checked on the clear vanilla, just in case, and it was, indeed, out of stock.

I purchased 31 more items (that’s a lot, I know) and it took me an hour and 20 minutes.  (This included running into a friend and visiting for a minute, and also a quick trip to the restroom.  I included these happenings in my total time because they are realities of going to the store in person.)

 When I Got Home

After arriving home, I unloaded all my groceries. I noticed that the strawberry container they chose for me was one I wouldn’t have chosen for myself.  The berries were not all red; they had a lot of white on them, which means they weren’t fully ripe.

I had walked by the strawberry display case as I made my rounds through the store.  They were not ALL like that.

Not the end of the world, but still.  Arrgghhhh.

Save Time With Online Grocery Shopping

Pros and Cons of Online Grocery Shopping

For the sake of review, I decided to list out the biggest Pros and Cons that I discovered:

Pros
  • The system was intuitive.
  • It was nice to see all my options listed (and usually pictured) on my computer screen.
  • Overall, it saved time.
  • I wasn’t caught up by distractions in the store.
  • It was helpful to have my groceries and other items loaded into my car for me.
  • There was no difference in cost that I could tell.
Cons
  • I couldn’t make my own selections of fresh fruits and veggies.
  • I didn’t always approve of the substitution they made for me.
  • Some items simply weren’t available through online shopping.
  • It was sometimes frustrating to keep searching for an item that wasn’t there (even though I knew the store carried it).
  • It involved more time in front of a screen rather than out walking around.

Overall

Overall, I enjoyed my experience with online grocery shopping.  It had more “pros” than I thought it would.  I think I will try it again, but definitely not every time.

I still like shopping.

I am sure that as I do it more often, I will get a sense of what kinds of items work best for purchasing online.  (Not strawberries, apparently.)

The fact that I needed 31 additional items was unusual.  I blame it on Birthday Month and the upcoming mission trips.

Normally, I could foresee that doing most of my shopping online (probably the non-perishable items and the housewares and office supply-type things) would save me quite a bit of time.

Most of the time, I will keep the selection of fresh produce in my own capable hands.

~ Coach Leica

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