How to be prepared when grocery shopping online

If ever there was proof that we live in an age of wonders, it’s the advent of online grocery shopping. Why take time out of your day to get in a car, drive to the store, find everything you need, and then lug the heavy packets back home when you can just hope online and order your groceries with a few mouse clicks? Is there really any reason to go to the grocery store anymore? Well, actually there is. You see for all its conveniences, there are a number of frustrating aspects of online grocery shopping that you need to be aware of before taking the plunge.

You need to know exactly what you want


One of the benefits of shopping in an actual store is seeing the products right there in front of you. When shopping for groceries online you need to have a clear idea of exactly what your looking for. Make sure you have a list of items you need before you start shopping

Get specific



Often my grocery shopping lists are pretty vague, instead of listing specific products my list will often just contain items like: “Meat,” “vegetables,” or “fruit.” When online shopping, this lack of detail just won’t cut it. You’ll need to know exactly what you need which can take some of the fun discovery out of shopping for produce or meat.

Accept that not everything will be available



There’s no guarantee that the items you pick at checkout will still be available when it comes time to deliver the goods. If an item becomes unavailable stores will often try and provide an acceptable substitute. Usually this shouldn’t be a problem, but if you have very specific preferences or dietary requirements it could prove frustrating.

Some things won’t be substituted



Resist the temptation to plan recipes based on your online order. Sometimes the grocery store will be unable to provide a suitable substitute, so you’ll need to be flexible.

Special offers might not be available



Physical stores will often offer deals and specials on overstocked or soon to expire items. There’s no guarantee that these specials will be available online.

Be prepared for the delivery costs



Nothing is free, least of all grocery deliveries! When shopping online try to factor delivery costs into your purchase. Most services require a minimum purchase — usually around $60 — to qualify for delivery and even then there will still be a delivery charge.

If you’re fussy about fruit and veg don’t order these online



Do you spend time fussing over finding the perfect piece of fruit or veg? If your answer is “yes” online grocery shopping might not be for you. One of the downsides of shopping online is letting someone else pick your produce.

Some items may not be available in your area



Depending on where you live, some items may not be available online, alcohol for example. Keep this in mind when writing up your shopping list.

It’s all quite impersonal



If you’re a social person, you might find online grocery shopping pretty clinical and impersonal.

Know how much you need



When grocery shopping it’s pretty easy to just eyeball quantities. This isn’t really an option when shopping online. Make sure you know exactly how much stuff you need before you pull the trigger. Otherwise you’ll be stuck with more food or products than you’ll know what to do with.

Delivery can take a while



Factor in the time it will take to get your items delivered. You don’t want to be stuck without essential items like toothpaste or toilet paper!

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