After shopping online for groceries for over five years, here are the pros and cons I've discovered along the way.
- Instacart and many local store delivery services can often beat Amazon for speed and price. I always compare to see which is best.
- Instacart and local grocery services offer a very convenient grocery shopping experience even beyond your grocery list. Using Instacart offers a great way to send gifts to people -- flowers and food from the grocery store are much more reasonable than online gift catalogs.
- Now that Instacart has added a "shopping by aisle" feature, it is just as easy to navigate as a real store. The app also remembers what you put in your cart, which makes for an excellent start to your next grocery list.
- You can compare prices and nutrition facts, buy in-season items, and just about anything you would buy in an actual store. Except you get to skip the traffic, parking, and lengthy checkout process.
- One more great thing about the app is that you can always be aware of how much you are spending before you check out! It's very enlightening to scroll down and see how much processed foods like cookies, chips, and sodas cost per serving. And then delete them!
- One downside of Instacart is that the store can be out of items even though you purchased them online. There are settings to help everyone, and you can pick between “substitute" and "refund. “ Watch your phone for alerts from shoppers when they start shopping. Some shoppers are very good about substituting, while others just refund whatever they can’t find, but hey, not all of us are black belt shoppers!
- It is more fun to shop in a real store for ideas and inspiration. Don’t pressure yourself to shop online all the time. To get a real-life experience, I often go to the farmers market on the weekend, where I can meet the growers and see what is local and in season.
By Judy Doherty, MPS, PCII
All in all, I have saved thousands of hours of time while supporting local businesses and shoppers by using Instacart. So my thumbs are way up for the process!
By Judy Doherty, MPS, PCII
*Instacart is a grocery shopping service available in most areas and has a smartphone app you can download. Once you create an account and log in, you can search for items in local stores. When you add them to your cart and check out, you typically can get them delivered in a day or two.
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.