When I first heard about grocery-delivery services popping up in my area, I thought it was an amazing idea. I’ll be the first to admit it: I despise grocery shopping. It’s right there on the top of my list of adulting chores I’d rather not do.
So, if I were to sign up for any extra subscription services (on top of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime), then a grocery-delivery service would be it. But, before I had a chance to give it a try, I had already talked myself out of it. I convinced myself that grocery delivery was a luxury I couldn’t afford and shamed myself for being so lazy that I would actually pay someone to do my grocery shopping.
Then the time came: I woke up on a Sunday morning feeling like I had gotten run over the night before. It was the all too familiar feeling of a nasty cold getting ready to take me down. And, of course, I still had to do all of my adulting chores for this day, including grocery shopping.
I knew I needed to get better fast, and that’s usually better done when I have the right supplies: orange juice, chicken noodle soup, cough drops and rest, lots of rest. But, of course, I had absolutely no food in my house, and the thought of making the trek to the grocery store was less appealing than ever.
So, I decided it was time to give Shipt a try. Now that I have experienced the service firsthand, I’d like to share some of the pros and cons.
[caption id="attachment_59481" align="alignnone" width="1200"] Comparetto walks in with the groceries she got using Shipt, a grocery delivery service, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder[/caption]
Not only was I able to get my grocery shopping done without getting out of bed, it was a great experience all around. The app was very easy to use and showed available stores based on my location.
My options were Publix and ABC Liquors. Although the thought of just getting drunk to forget about how horrible I was feeling did cross my mind, I settled for Publix, which happens to be my favorite grocery store – aside from its higher prices.
The app makes it easy to browse items in different categories and there is a search field if you’re looking for something specific. You also have the option of requesting specific items not in the app. For me, this was much more convenient than roaming around the store in search of deals, especially when all I wanted to do was hide under my covers.
So I began adding items to my cart (without getting out of bed), then chose my delivery time based on the available options and received a message when my shopper began shopping for my items.
Shipt Shoppers have access to a messaging system within the Shipt app to maintain communication while shopping, and the customer receives the messages as text messages. So when a shopper begins picking out your items, you will receive a text from the shopper that includes his or her name and the message: “I have begun shopping for your items.”
When she was done shopping, my shopper sent me a message to let me know she was on her way to my house. This was great because it gave me time to get out of bed and put on decent clothes before she arrived.
One of the great things about using Shipt is the ability to monitor your cart total. This is a great feature for when you have a set grocery budget.
Since the total is updated in real time, I was able to keep my total within my budget by removing any items I could do without – something that would have been a pain if I were at the store.
[caption id="attachment_59477" align="alignnone" width="1200"] The food Comparetto got from using using Shipt. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder[/caption]
I was unaware of this the first time I used the service: you can shop deals and discounts.
I blame the haze that was clouding my brain during my first experience, because when you log into the app, the “On Sale Today” category is front and center. I took advantage of this the second time around to save myself a bit of money and stay within a pretty tight budget.
The “On Sale Today” category lists items that are on sale for that day. Each item in the category is marked as either “On Sale” or “BOGO” with the original price crossed out and the sale price next to it in green. For example, I ordered a pack of strawberries normally priced at $4.49 on sale for $3.39 - great deal!
If you select a BOGO item, it shows a discounted price to reflect the discount for buying the two items. When you add the BOGO item to your cart, it will automatically add the 2 items with the discounted price multiplied by two. For example, if Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers are normally priced at $2.89 with the discounted price as $1.44, the total for the BOGO would be $2.88.
There is also a “Weekly Sale Items” category, which lists items on sale for that week and works the same way as the “On Sale Today” category.
Other offers include a discount for ordering either an item amount or dollar amount in a specific category.
For example, some of the offers I have seen included “$3 off your next order when you order $15 in this category” and “Get $5 off your next order when you order $10 in this category.”
The first offer was for certain brands of snacks, and the second one was for Pepperidge Farms items. I have also seen “Get $5 off your next order when you order 5 items in this category.”
Shipt does not accept clipped coupons at this time, but it plans to offer this in the future.
Another great feature is the “Buy Again” category. This shows all of the items you have purchased in the past, making it easier to find items you buy on a regular basis.
You can even consult this feature when you’re building a shopping list based on your budget, as it shows the price of each item.
The great thing about technology changing the way we live is the creation of more jobs. With these store-to-door grocery-delivery services popping up, a new category of jobs is opening.
I was curious about how much shoppers get paid; so, before making my first order, I researched how much Shipt pays its shoppers and how much I should tip. Although tipping is optional, I wanted to be sure I showed my appreciation for the person who would be doing me a huge favor (especially since I live in a second-floor apartment).
You can tip right through the app by choosing one of its suggestions or entering your own amount.
As it turns out, grocery-delivery shoppers can actually make pretty good money, making this a great way to bring in some cash on the side or as a full-time gig. Some have even reported making $20 an hour by going grocery shopping!
This pro made me feel a lot better about paying someone to do one of my chores. It was a win-win situation: I got to stay in bed while someone else did my shopping, and that someone else got paid pretty well to do it.
[caption id="attachment_59482" align="alignnone" width="1200"] Comparetto puts her groceries away. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder[/caption]
Now that we’ve gone over the pros of grocery delivery services, let’s take a look at some of the drawbacks.
As with any subscription service, grocery delivery services come with a monthly membership fee. The membership fee for Shipt is $14.99, but it gives you a two-week free trial, and you don’t have to pay a delivery fee if you spend $35 or more.
Taking advantage of deals, such as $5 off your order if you buy 5 items in a specific category, and shopping in the “On Sale Today” category can more than make up for the cost of membership.
One issue I ran into during my experiences with Shipt was my store didn’t carry some of the items listed in the app. This wasn’t a huge deal, though, since shoppers can also use the messaging system to offer substitutions.
For example, I had selected Aunt Jemima whole grain waffles and received a text from my shopper stating the store did not carry them, along with a list of whole grain waffles from other brands as available substitutions.
I really appreciated being offered a substitution for the breakfast I had planned for the week, rather than receiving my delivery with missing items.
Item prices in the app may be higher than store prices, and sometimes it’s a pretty big difference.
For example, I regularly buy a box of waffles normally priced at $2.99 at the store. When I order through Shipt, that box of waffles is $3.79 – nearly a dollar more!
But I didn’t let that stop me from ordering through Shipt a second time. And the second time around, I was much smarter with my shopping. I had a budget of about $50 to spend on groceries, so I took advantage of the “On Sale Today” category.
Not only did using the app help me stay within my budget by updating my cart total in real time, I also got to shop the sales and BOGOs all in one place.
I ended up with enough food to last me until the next payday (nearly 2 weeks) for under $50. Not bad for my second experience with a grocery-delivery service.
And as it turns out, there are plenty of other ways grocery-delivery services can save you money, making this convenient service all the more worth it.
Jessica Gray is a writer, grammarist and grilled cheese enthusiast. She is a master of learning everything the hard way and enjoys using those experiences to create entertaining and informative articles to help others who find themselves in the same rocky boat called “Life”.