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In these belt-tightening times, online grocery shopping has its pros and cons. Deals, savings and two-for-one offers abound in the online world and the grocery shopping sector is no exception. So, what are the best bits about online food shopping and are there any downsides?

Taking the Good with the Bad

Convenience is one of the greatest points about online food shopping. Not many of us enjoy the weekly or monthly raid on a crowded supermarket and most of us can think of better things to do than locating veg boxes in-store. Saturday morning “Big Shops” can be fraught experiences and include hidden petrol costs, along with the surprises that turn up in the trolley if you are accompanied by partners or kids. Sticking to the list is easy with the online version and it has the advantage of being a task that can be completed in the comfort of your own home, when you have time, and can even be accompanied by a nice cuppa or glass of wine.

The two most inconvenient things about online grocery shopping are basically the cost of delivery and the timing of delivery slots. Nearly all the main providers will offer money off discounts if you are signing up for their services. When it comes to big shops you’ll be able to meet the free delivery threshold quite easily. All good, until you have to combine the demands of family life, work and leisure, all of which will have to be organized around a delivery slot that can be up to two hours long.

If you want a small order you also face the cost of delivery, which can negate any savings on gasoline. Small shops tend to be the ones that we squeeze into our so-called lunch hours or commutes home. This is where some of the unexpected online grocery shopping providers can come in. Traditional businesses, such as your local milkman or woman, do offer grocery delivery services. They’ve probably had to expand into this area to survive, but they bring with them some traditional perks.

Old Perks

Dairies operate on “rounds” and they don’t actually charge delivery for small orders — or large ones. This can be really useful if you just need a few items and it allows you to take advantage of another great perk; early, next day delivery. Usually delivery is before you’re up — and this really gets the food shopping out of the way before the day has started. Busy mums, in particular, should love this aspect. Like all the best online grocery shopping services, this type of shopping is done in the comfort of your own home and as with the supermarket services it allows you to build regular orders or add one-off items. Normally, because of the way the dairies operate, their cut-off times are also late in the evening — so annoying oversights such as lack of breakfast cereal can be dealt with quickly.

While the majority of supermarket online grocery shopping services are increasingly adaptable and offer great service for the “big shop,” the “little shops” in between have not, until now, been easy to remove from our to-do lists. As the online services are developed by additional providers it seems that even these last-minute trips to the shops could become a thing of the past.

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