Game Changing Grocery Delivery Service
If you haven’t tried grocery delivery or online ordering of your groceries, you should at least give it a try to see if it fits your lifestyle. In the metro Atlanta area, you can get groceries delivered from Publix, Kroger, Target, Wholefoods, Aldi, and Costco. That list will change as time goes on and Walmart continues to team up with Uber, Postmates, DoorDash, etc. To get those groceries delivered you today, you can use Instacart or Shipt. Each service will let you try before you buy. In other words, you can sign up, see how it all works, then cancel if you find that it’s not satisfactory.
I would suggest Instacart if you are the type of customer who will only use the service as follows:
- You will only use grocery delivery when you or a family member are sick.
- You order groceries for a family member who cannot shop.
This way, you aren’t locked into a subscription, and you pay per delivery. Instacart also has an express membership for those members who found grocery delivery too good to resist on an ongoing basis.
I would suggest Shipt if you like to order from Target.
Keep in mind:
- Both services charge for deliveries.
- Both services markup most products.
- Both services have a mixture of full-service shoppers and delivery contractors.
- Both services have minimums unless you pay monthly/annual fees.
- Both services learn your grocery shopping habits.
The Grocery Delivery Shopper and Delivery Person
What service you choose should be based on the satisfaction of the contractor who ends up at your home. And that is by far, the most crucial point. This person may, or may not, shop for your groceries. You may not even care if they did, you want your bags on the doorstep in two hours or less. My personal experience is that 1 out of 5 Instacart customers asked that the groceries be left at the door and often I would never see them. Or, they leave delivery instructions for all deliveries to leave the groceries at the door. This removes any personal contact, experience, or ability to go above and beyond. Having a sleeping child, an insane canine, or influenza aside. It’s those times you do appreciate someone who complies and doesn’t ring/knock.
A full-service contract shopper (Shipt, Instacart) will do everything they can to achieve high ratings to get contractor bonuses. How will a store employee be able to impact their performance and receive rewards for stellar service if someone else delivers the groceries? In fact, if rates are such that a delivery driver doesn’t make more than minimum wage, then why would they bother taking the extra time to ensure the bread was not dented, or the milk was kept chilled? That delivery driver has to complete as many deliveries possible to make a sustaining wage. Many Instacart contractors avoid delivery only orders for that fundamental reason.
Most gig economy contracting jobs do the same thing when you sign up: Check driving records, do a background check, get a photo ID, validate vehicle insurance, and sometimes require video responses during hiring. I’ve personally experienced Uber, Lyft, Roadie, Instacart, Shipt, SitterCity, Postmates, and Doordash. All of these companies required those items, and Shipt was the only who requested video responses to a few questions. In some cases, even the vehicle has to meet a minimum standard. The company most used is Checkr who also provides the contractor with a copy of the report.
I belong to a few social media sites for contractor personnel, and I can tell you that when customers complain, deactivations happen. The shopping, ride-sharing, and delivering contractor care about what you think!
The Looming Walmart Question
Walmart has already started their shopping service by hiring employees who do the picking of groceries for curbside pickup. This is the most cost-effective way to get your groceries. As well, if you think Walmart is sitting around waiting for autonomous delivery to happen, think again: Walmart has several patents pending to beef up their online shopping for groceries. You may not be able to envision it now, but robots will be able to pick groceries because they are already scanning shelves to check for inventory.
You may never shop at Walmart, but after a year of looking over your grocery expenses, to include the ultra-convenient delivery, you will find that order and delivery from Walmart has a huge payback effect! (No, I don’t work for Walmart and nor do I shop there but only because as a full-service shopping contractor, I am in a Publix almost every day.) In a previous post, I show how you can save $700 annually using Walmart curbside pickup (but it’s actually double that).
So what else will Walmart do to attract consumers who today never shop there? They won’t have to do anything, Instacart and Shipt are already building their fanbase. Let me explain:
There is one thing I completely disagree with Instacart about, and that is customer loyalty. They believe, and market to grocery companies, that offering this premium service increases loyalty. I’m sure it can with the odd customer who only uses delivery once or twice a year when needed. In fact, I’ll bet that if Publix had offered that service on a limited basis, they would keep those customers who, in a few years, will follow autonomous delivery. That spells the ultimate demise or varied selection of grocery stores. Wait, I glossed over the fact that Instacart’s revenue stream isn’t just about your delivery fee and 12% markup – it’s also about the income they generate from marketing (they now have your customer’s eyeballs) and providing analytics to the grocers.
Unfortunately, some of the customers using Instacart will begin to forget what the Publix shopping experience is and how they work hard (plus slightly higher prices) on customer service. The reason you don’t see long checkout lines happens for a reason. Publix focuses on getting customers through that line plus ensuring a clean, well lit, shiny and bright grocery shopping experience. As time goes on though, the Instacart customer doesn’t care about the smiling faces in Publix or whether they were asked at checkout if they found everything. What they do care about is how luscious the apples and oranges look when they are delivered. That you can thank the contract grocery shopper for, with a little credit to Instacart and Shipt for monitoring speed, accuracy, and customer complaints.
Walmart, on the other hand, will hire, train, and (maybe) provide benefits to its associate grocery shopper, thereby retaining complete control over how the product or the price is affected. They will leave the delivery aspect to companies like Uber, DoorDash, and Postmates.
The Rise of The Experience Grocer
I’m using a term, The Experience Grocer. This grocer is much like Sprouts, Whole Foods, Fresh Market, and Trader Joes. The experience grocer doesn’t have a well lit, clean, and high-touch employee base. They have exotic aromas, a healthy slant, gregarious employees with a casual flair, and exciting ways to procure a sundry of produce and prepared foods. Publix still enforces uniforms, has the orderly, strict, and almost dull layout that they’ve had for many years. While Kroger is one of the largest grocery chains, Publix has acquired a diehard fanbase by customers who visit the store for the hands-on customer interaction. In some Publix stores, the wine selection can’t be beaten. Okay, and that deli department is getting pretty tasty.
However, grocery delivery will completely change the way we shop (or don’t) for food. It’s already turning. Amazon didn’t acquire Whole Foods for the patchouli and papayas! They use their power to try and make us believe they’ve “slashed” prices in Whole Foods and that you still get value from a $99 annual prime subscription even though gig economy delivery models are changing that too.
Do you want to shop for tissue paper and tinfoil? I don’t either. Bring it to me. I want to be surrounded by perfumery while I look at beautiful produce, see prepared foods that I to can make, get healthy products at a low price, and taste/sample just about anything. I want an experience, and I don’t even want to have to check out anymore. Grocers who are focused on just that will be the ones that thrive.
Or, conversely, they will warehouse everything that will eventually be delivered.
This means that your grocery store experience will change rapidly over the next few years because fewer consumers will be going to the store to buy staples but will still expect to be dazzled by The Experience Grocer. If you haven’t tried grocery delivery, you should at least find a time-saver by using Kroger or Walmarts curbside pickup. Unless some giant retailers dust off their dazzle-meter and entice more customers in the doors, warehousing and delivery will take over, and I’m going to Trader Joe’s!