The Pros and Cons of Buying Your Groceries Online
Believe it or not, there might soon come a day when we no longer have to jump in the car, drive to the store, and walk through dozens of aisles to shop for our food. Why? You can do that online now. Services ranging from Amazon to Instacart promise to take the hassle out of shopping by delivering your groceries straight to your door, sometimes within hours. Surely, online shopping can’t replace supermarkets, right? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons to find out.
Pro: The Convenience Factor
Probably the biggest draw for using an online service to send you food is that you don’t even need to stand up (or get dressed) to get you your week’s groceries. Even if you’re a quick shopper, it still takes time to travel to the supermarket and pick out all the items you need. Doing it all online promises to expedite the process, giving you the power to buy with the click of a button. All you have to do is answer the door when your delivery arrives.
Con: It Might Take Some Time to Figure It All Out
Online shopping is still somewhat new, but there are already a bevy of online services that offer different online shopping experiences, for better or worse. Ordering groceries through Amazon is just like buying anything else from the site, but you’re restricted to non-perishable goods. Blue Apron lets you pick from a menu of curated meals that changes every week. That’s good if you’re indecisive but leaves you out of luck if you don’t like what they’re offering. Each service has small differences, and when you throw in varying prices, terms, and available locations, you might find that your online shopping experience isn’t as simple as you thought it would be.
Pro: You’ll Spend Your Money More Wisely
Even if you tend to shop at big-box stores, ordering your groceries online can provide you with easier access to things you’d have trouble finding in person. If you make use of multiple online grocery services, you’ll have a wider range of items to choose from, and you’ll be able to price match between multiple suppliers. If you’re willing to put in the time to learn the ins and outs of different online grocery services, you’ll save money and the effort of travelling across town to multiple supermarkets.
Con: You Lose the In-Person Advantage
One of the best things about shopping in-person is that you get to see the product before you buy it. You can judge a product based on its size, weight, color, and expiration date. When you shop online, you lose this advantage. For example, that bag of potato chips that looked so appealing online might not be as big as you thought it was. Or, those fresh apples you ordered might not be as fresh as promised. You can avoid this issue by ordering only non-perishables, but if you’re going to be visiting an in-person supermarket to buy your produce, why not just do all your shopping there anyway?
Online grocery shopping has its ups and downs, but it’s slowly picking up steam. Clearly, there’s something to it if it has so many people making their purchases from their computers rather than at the checkout line. Also, it’s still early days for online grocery shopping, and services are bound to only get better. Perhaps we will be saying goodbye to supermarkets sometime in the near future.