3 Grocery Delivery Services That Make Life Easier
All available with just a few clicks
Photos courtesy of SHIPT
It’s a cold, rainy day and you’re at home with your stomach flu-stricken toddler. Ready to make yourself a sandwich for lunch, you discover there is no bread or turkey. With growing dread, you also realize you have nothing to make for dinner. As you rush to help your child, who is getting sick again, you decide you could use some more Pedialyte. You’re also on your last roll of paper towels and — oh yeah — you have one diaper left.
Once upon a time, this was enough chaos to cause a mini-meltdown and/or the temptation to uncork your bottle of red wine early — if you hadn’t also run out of that! Today, however, you can keep your pajamas on, turn on “Paw Patrol,” and order these much-needed items with just a few clicks on your computer or smartphone.
San Francisco-based Instacart launched in 2012 and rolled into the Triangle market in 2016. At that time, Instacart had partnered with six retailers and served 17 zip codes. Less than three years later, Instacart delivers from twice as many retailers to 51 zip codes in the Triangle.
Which stores can you buy from? Total Wine & More, Lowes Foods, Publix, ALDI, Durham Co-op, Food Lion, Earth Fare, PetcoNow, Sur La Table, Restaurant Depot, Sprouts Farmers Market, Costco, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Whole Foods and CVS Pharmacy. (Check your zip code as services may vary in some areas.)
How does it work? Customers can go online to instacart.com or use the Instacart app to add items to a virtual grocery cart. Customers then choose a delivery window ranging from one hour to five days. An Instacart personal shopper accepts the order (similar to how a Lyft or Uber driver accepts a ride), uses the app to guide himself or herself through your shopping list, and delivers the items to your door. If an item you've chosen isn't available, you'll receive an alert on your phone and can message the shopper to specify an alternative.
How much does it cost? Instacart adds a 5 percent service fee and suggests a default 5 percent tip for the shopper. You can change the tip amount at checkout or up to three days after delivery, and the entire tip goes to the shopper who delivers your order. You can order items from more than one store, but the delivery fee and order minimum apply for each store in the order. Customers can also choose to become Instacart Express members for $99 a year or $9.99 a month to enjoy unlimited, free, same-day delivery on orders of $35 or more.
Founded in 2014 in Birmingham, Alabama, Shipt partnered with Harris Teeter to launch a grocery delivery service in the Triangle in April 2017. Since then, Shipt has partnered with additional stores.
Which stores can you buy from? Harris Teeter, Lidl, Lowes Foods, Publix and Target in the Triangle metro area. (Check your zip code as services may vary in some areas.)
How does it work? Members of Shipt can go online to shipt.com or use the Shipt app to order items. The site and app are organized to display products in sections, much like the aisles of a grocery store, and customers can either browse by category or search for specific items. An assigned shopper receives your order and is available to you via text the moment he or she starts shopping for your order. You can also make adjustments to your order and get live updates from the aisles by texting your shopper.
How much does it cost? Shipt is a membership-based service. Choose either a $14/month or $99/year membership. The annual membership offers customers unlimited grocery deliveries over $35.
Amazon Prime Pantry
Amazon users are no doubt aware of Prime Pantry. This service, located at amazon.com/primepantry, gives Prime members an opportunity to buy common household items in smaller quantities, or brands that were not previously available on Amazon.
Customers can choose an add-on Prime Pantry membership fee or per-delivery option for each Prime “box” they fill, and they will get free shipping on all orders of $10 or more. All other Prime members receive free shipping on orders of $35 or more. For orders under these thresholds, Prime and Prime Pantry members must pay a flat $5.99 shipping fee per order. Available wherever ground shipping delivers, Amazon Prime Pantry orders normally take one to four days for delivery.
In 2017, the Food Marketing Institute and Nielsen conducted a combined study, which predicted that in just five to seven years, 70 percent of all U.S. consumers will regularly shop for groceries online. So, the next time you find yourself at home with a sick kid, or just don’t want to change out of your comfy PJs to go to the store, hop on this trend and let your groceries come to you.
Mandy Howard is a mother of three and freelance writer in Raleigh.