Online shopping has gained a lot of popularity in recent times. Not only do people shop for daily essentials and household items online, but you can also shop for your groceries online. Grocery shopping is a welcomed idea for most people especially during the pandemic when physical contact and crowded places are being avoided.
Gone are the days when people had to navigate through crowded aisles in stores to shop for groceries. Online grocery shopping has replaced in-store shopping first because it saves time and energy and secondly to reduce contact and contain the spread of COVID-19.
Many online grocery delivery services sell both perishable and non-perishable products but for the sake of this post, we will be examining the top three online grocery services. All three of these platforms render the same service and sell similar products but their operations are different.
In this post, we will be examining each platform and then we will identify their differences.
Amazon Fresh is a subsidiary of Amazon which offers grocery, whole food, clothing, toys, and daily essentials delivery services. Amazon Fresh is available in more than two thousand cities including; most cities in the United States, Munich, London, Hamburg, India, Milan, Berlin, Singapore, and Tokyo.
Amazon Fresh partners with local specialty stores for the delivery of local items. Amazon Fresh is not available in random locations instead, specific parts of various metropolitan areas are targeted based on certain factors.
Amazon Fresh is only available to Amazon Prime members but not available to prime video members. Amazon Prime membership costs $119 per year. Once you have an Amazon Prime subscription, Amazon Fresh is made available to you at no extra cost. Prime household members and the guests of Prime members can shop Amazon Fresh.
This notwithstanding, if a customer has a valid SNAP EBT card, even without an Amazon Prime membership, he can receive free access to Amazon Fresh.
Before placing an order on the Amazon Fresh website, you will need to search the availability of the item by ZIP Code.
Orders of $35 and more with delivery addresses in eligible regions, get free 2 hours delivery. Orders below that incur a delivery fee. The delivery fee varies based on the chosen delivery speed and the amount of the customer’s order. The delivery fee is automatically included at checkout.
Depending on the time of the order and the availability of delivery slots, items ordered on Amazon Fresh can be delivered on the same day or the next day.
An interesting feature of Amazon Fresh is the Amazon Fresh Pickup. This feature enables customers to shop online and reserve the item for pickup at a later time. This can be likened to a drive-in-type grocery store. Once the customer gets to the store at the set time, the items are loaded into their car.
The Amazon Fresh interface is the same as that of the main Amazon website. It is simple, straightforward, and easy to use. If you shop on the Amazon website, using the Amazon Fresh website will be a walk in the park.
Items in Amazon Fresh are segmented in various categories such as “Deli”, “Bread and Bakery” etc. There are also subcategories such as “Organic”, “Gluten-free” etc. All you need to do is to add the desired items from the different categories to your cart and check out.
Automatic access to all Amazon Prime members.
Items are always available. Amazon Fresh is rarely out of stock.
Delivery is very fast. Items can be delivered within two hours of placing the order.
Items from local Whole Foods are available on Amazon Fresh.
Only items above $35 are eligible for free delivery.
Amazon Fresh does not deliver to every city.
Paper coupons or digital coupons cannot be used on Amazon Fresh.
Instacart is an online-based American company that offers grocery delivery and pick-up services in Canada and the United States. It was established in 2012.
With Instacart you can create a virtual shopping cart by ordering groceries from Instacart-registered retailers. The shopping cart is fulfilled by a personal shopper on the designated date.
Instacart is in partnership with more than half of all the grocery stores in Canada and the United States. It partners with local grocery stores and small businesses in states where they function. It also partners with big retailers like Food Lion, Kroger, Aldi, Safeway, and Harris Teeter. Instacart is available in more than 5500 cities across the United States
Since Instacart itself doesn’t sell any groceries, it is not responsible for the pricing of the items. The prices of the groceries are set by the retailers and in some cases, the cost of items on the app may be higher than they are sold in store.
Also, the availability of items cannot be determined by Instacart. If an item is not available or out of stock, your shopper has to notify you and find suitable replacements for the item where necessary.
Signing up for Instacart membership gives you access to Instacart Express which costs 99 dollars annually or $9.99 monthly. Instacart Express membership enables you to enjoy free delivery for orders above $35. You will also be exempted from fees like busy pricing that non-member shoppers are subjected to. Busy Pricing is an extra fee that is charged when shoppers are overwhelmed with orders.
You can however place orders for grocery delivery on Instacart without signing up for Instacart membership. But your services fee and delivery fee will be higher than that of registered members. The delivery fee for both members and non-members for items under $35 ranges between $3.99 and $9.99.
Instacart offers same-day delivery for customers who urgently need the shopped items. The shoppers will pick the items from the store of your choice and have them delivered to you the same day. This usually happens within five hours of filling your cart. You can also place your order in advance for delivery on a different day.
Instacart delivery is fast. Items can be delivered or picked up within two hours.
You can chat with your shopper and get a real-time update during the shopping.
Instacart has a wide reach. It is available in over four thousand cities.
You do not need to sign-up as a member to be able to use Instacart.
Items may be missing or poorly substituted.
There are a lot of fees attached. This can make the cost of shopping on Instacart high when compared with other platforms.
The prices of items are higher than in-store retail costs.
Walmart Grocery enables customers to order groceries online and get them delivered to their doorstep. Walmart Grocery sells and delivers groceries, home goods, perishable and non-perishable items, and other Walmart products.
You can access Walmart grocery by visiting the website or directly from the Walmart app. You can purchase a subscription for $12.95 monthly or $98 yearly. This makes you eligible for free delivery. You do not need to be a registered member of Walmart grocery to be able to make an order, the downside of this is that you will be charged a delivery fee of about $7.95 to $9.96.
One good thing about Walmart grocery is that the prices of products for customers who choose to use the free pickup service are the same as that of people who walk into the shop. If the price for a product you ordered changes before it is delivered to you, you will be charged the lower price.
Items ordered are delivered between twenty-four to seven days. However, in areas where a Walmart Grocery store is located, you can pick up your items at the pickup point in the stores.
When you place your Walmart grocery order, you will be notified via email on when your order will be ready and exactly where you can pick up your items at the local store. To save time, you may be asked to check into the app when you are on your way to pick up the items.
Once you get to the designated online grocery pickup location in the local store, your order will be loaded into your vehicle in just a few minutes.
If you want the items delivered to you instead of picking them up yourself, Walmart partners with various delivery services to make this a possibility. Once you fill up your cart and check out, you will need to select a delivery time. Your items will be picked and packaged for you by Walmart personal shoppers. Your order will be delivered to your doorstep at the exact delivery time you picked.
You can see a record of your past orders. This saves you the stress of creating a fresh shopping list every time you want to shop.
It saves you the stress and hassle of shopping in-store.
You can shop for non-grocery items.
You don’t have to get out of your car when picking up your items. It will be loaded into your car by a Walmart staff.
Some items are out of stock when you need them. For instance, if you are shopping early on Monday morning, certain items may be out of stock.
You can’t get deals or find items on sale. You will need to go to the store to find clearance items.
Since the shopping is done by a Walmart shopper, you may not get exactly what you want.
You need the Walmart app for a great shopping experience. If you shop from the website instead of the app, you may be delayed at the pickup point and the substitutions you are given may be wrong.
Instacart Vs Amazon Fresh Vs Walmart Grocery
Instacart, Walmart Grocery, and Amazon Fresh may all be similar platforms offering the same kind of service but they vary in various ways. These differences may not be quite glaring but they will help you make a choice on which of the platforms you will prefer to use when shopping for groceries online.
Amazon Fresh sorts out your order in a warehouse while Instacart makes use of personal shoppers. These personal shoppers get your items from the local stores near you. Walmart personal shoppers, on the other hand, shop for your items within the Walmart store and package them for pickup or delivery.
The prices for items on Instacart are higher than that of Walmart Grocery and Amazon Fresh. This is because the prices are set by the stores. Amazon Fresh prices are lower than Instacart. For instance, snacks or chips on Amazon Fresh are about 10 to 30 percent cheaper than Instacart prices. Generally, the prices of items on Amazon Fresh are on par with nationwide grocery prices.
Walmart prices are also cheaper than Instacart prices.
3. Delivery Fee and Time
Items shopped on Instacart are delivered within two hours to 6 days and the delivery for members without subscription starts at $3.99. Instacart allows up to 6 days of advance scheduling of orders.
Amazon Fresh delivers within one to two hours after checkout. Delivery is free for items over $35 for both registered and unregistered members. Amazon Fresh does not make room for advance scheduling or orders.
Walmart grocery’s delivery time is within twenty-four hours to one week. The delivery fee is between $7.95 to $9.95. Walmart orders can be scheduled in advance for seven days.
You do not need to sign up for Instacart membership to be eligible for delivery. Being a registered member, however, gives you an edge over unregistered members.
You need to be a registered member of Amazon Prime to be able to use Amazon Fresh.
Just like Instacart, you don’t need to be a registered member of Walmart Grocery to shop on it.
These three grocery delivery platforms are amongst the best in the United States. While the differences between each of them are not so glaring, you will need to choose which one best suits your need per time, based on the proximity to you, the cost of delivery, and the type of product you want.
If however none of these matters to you, you can have a seamless shopping experience on any of these three platforms.
Have you done your grocery shopping on any of these platforms? Which platform is your favorite? Share your experience with us in the comment section.