7 Issues Americans Face When Shopping for Groceries Online
As online grocery shopping has never been more popular, it’s safe to say that stores and delivery services have worked out all the kinks in their supply chain. Well, not exactly.
In fact, 83% of Americans using some form of food ordering system have had problems with grocery delivery, according to a survey conducted by Bankrate.
With this in mind, here are 7 challenges when grocery shopping is done remotely:
1. Questionable Quality
We’ve all seen the folks at the store inspecting the tomatoes, putting back cans with dents in them, shaking the watermelons, checking eggs for cracks and sniffing the bread to see if it is fresh. They look kind of funny but who can blame them. Food is expensive and getting the best quality for your money is important so why not be picky.
But when food is ordered via an app or online someone who is not going to eat it is picking out the food. Obviously, these people want to do the best job for the customers to keep them coming back, but if your job is to source groceries all day it can be hard to always pick the ripest, freshest and undamaged products like someone who is only shopping once a week would do.
2. Availability Issues
We’ve all ordered something on the internet only to get an email later informing us it is out of stock. This is a real issue with online grocery shopping as well. For instance, just over half the respondents to that Bankrate survey reported that items being unavailable was one of their major problems with online grocery shopping.
How retailers handle this issue can be a concern as well. Sometimes they’ll just not include the product, which can leave the customer one ingredient short for a recipe they plan to make.
In other instances, the store will add a similar replacement item which may or may not be what the buyer wanted. Yes, not being able to find an item can also be a problem if the shopper goes to the store, but it is also easier to solve in person than after the fact, which is often the case with online ordering.
3. The Waiting...and Waiting...
Online grocery shopping is supposed to be all about convenience--no more driving to the store, wandering the aisles looking for products, waiting in line at the checkout, etc.
But what about those people who are stuck at home peering out the front window checking to see if the order has come so they can leave the house and go one with their day. And this is if you can schedule a delivery time and because all the reasonable windows have been taken, which can be an issue given the popularity of grocery delivery.
According to Bankrate, 21% of Americans say late deliveries have been an issue for them. Would it have been better just to go to the store, get your groceries, come home and put them away on your own? Would it have saved time? These are questions online grocery shoppers often ask while they are holed up at home, their time held hostage by the impending arrival of a delivery.
4. Foiled Food Delivery
In the United States, 1.7 million packages go missing every day and many of these missing parcels contain some sort of food product. Twitter is awash with folks lamenting groceries that never showed up:
Like @larevalodownes, it’s not rare for people to be victimized more than once because food deliveries are often sent on a schedule so thieves know when they are coming and come back time and again to get their groceries that don’t really belong to them.
5. Ordering Experience
Though getting food delivered from the grocery store has become ubiquitous, customers must remember that this service is in its infancy. Lots of stores rushed to create ordering platforms to deal with the consumer demand that skyrocketed during the COVId-19 pandemic.
In many cases, these apps and websites are fairly basic in terms of features that allow users to see the products they are choosing, especially when it comes to fresh items like meats, fish and vegetables.
Oftentimes these digital setups aren’t structured intuitively, which can make searching for items online a longer experience than actually going to a brick-and-mortar location for a shopper who already knows where everything is in their local store.
6. Lost In-Person Experience
As we’ve all seen recently, there’s a safety factor that comes with not leaving the house to go shopping. During the COVID-19 pandemic this was especially important and remains so for many people who are at-risk or have compromised immune systems.
But we also learned the importance of getting out of the house, which is why many people who have the time like going to an actual physical store. Afterall, running into an old friend and having an impromptu conversation doesn’t happen on an app.
Plus, going to the store allows us to browse and find new products or grab many of the sundries and products like magazines, certain medicines, a hot cup of coffee, an item fresh from the bakery, or a bottle of liquor that aren’t usually available via digital portals.
7. Cost of Convenience
Home delivery is a service and what service can you think of that doesn’t come without a fee? Not many. Businesses have to pay for the gas and the personnel to drive orders from a store or fulfillment center to residences or businesses and in many cases that cost is passed on to consumers.
In some cases that payment is made through a yearly membership like with Amazon Prime or Walmart+, that gives you “free delivery” when you order $35 or more. Other times you are paying a flat fee, like if you aren’t a member of Instacart or if you are ordering from a local store. To even qualify for delivery, a person must usually have to spend a minimum amount which is another way that stores and retailers are increasing grocery bills of their customers.
The Lockable Package Delivery Box to the Rescue
Many of these issues will be solved as online grocery delivery grows and the retailers and stores catch up with demand and technology. But the issues involving the last foot of the delivery experience like waiting and theft are not problems that can be solved on the sellers’ end of the service. These dilemmas must be handled by the buyer.
Luckily, an insulated, lockable package delivery box, such as the DeliverySafe, solves these issues. As these boxes are typically placed on the front porch, groceries can be easily placed inside them and securely locked at any time of the day. DeliverySafe also comes with a well-insulated interior and ice packs, so perishables can be kept fresh easily for up to 24 hours.
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