The main reason consumers are hesitant to try online grocery shopping? They like to see and touch products before purchasing them. But what if you’re feeling sick, tired or just don’t have the time to get it done? Grocery delivery services can come in handy.
Quick Look: The Best Grocery Delivery Services
How Grocery Delivery Services Work
It’s easy to sign up and get started with a grocery delivery service. Here are the steps you can take:
Choose a grocery delivery service. Some services are tied directly to a single grocery store such as Walmart or Kroger, while other services will deliver from a number of stores.
Sign up on your computer or smartphone. Most have apps you can download to make the process even easier. Enter your name, address, phone number, email address and payment information, such as a debit card or checking account.
Choose the items you want, from meat and milk to produce and paper products. Be sure to indicate quantities and note any special preferences. The prices of each item will be posted so you can compare brands and costs.
Submit your list. You’ll receive an email confirmation and/or text message confirming your order as well as an arrival time.
Key Features of the Best Grocery Delivery Services
When you search for a grocery delivery service, you’ll find there are many options, so what should you consider before you choose? We’ve compiled a short list of must-have features for your go-to grocery delivery service.
Before you sign up for a membership or pay an annual fee for a delivery service, see if a free trial is offered. We found several services that offer free trials, ranging from 2 to 4 weeks.
Take advantage of a free trial so you can get a feel for how the service works. Do they get your order right? Is your order delivered on time? A free trial will allow you to decide if the service is right for you before you make a commitment.
Easy Pricing System
There are lots of ways these delivery services can sneak in extra fees and charges, so visit their websites and find out what the bottom-line charges are.
Do they charge a monthly or annual fee? Are their prices the same as if you were buying the items yourself, in the store? Or do they tack a fee onto each item? Choose a service that makes it easy for you to understand what you’re paying for in terms of products and delivery fees.
Good Customer Service
Your order has been delivered, and you received 10 Fuji apples instead of Granny Smith apples. If a mistake happens, you need to know that a service has policies in place to correct the error and that you can reach someone quickly if there are any other issues.
We found several services with good FAQ centers on subjects ranging from delivery times and order mistakes to tipping and pricing. Make sure customer service representatives are easy to reach via web chat, email or phone.
Our Top Picks
Milk and bread are expensive enough on their own, so if you’re going to fork out extra money to have them delivered, choose a service that’s worth it. To help make your grocery store dollars count, we’ve compiled a list of our top 5 picks for grocery delivery services.
Price: A membership costs $14 (monthly) or $99 (annually)
When you arrive at
Members don’t pay a delivery fee if you order $35 or more. If your order is under $35, you pay $7. It’s worth noting that
Shipt’s key features
- You can monitor your grocery cart total in real-time.
- Your Shipt shopper will notify you when shopping has begun and when your order is on its way to your house through a text messaging system.
- Although you can’t use manufacturer’s coupons, Shipt offers weekly deals and discounts you can take advantage of.
- If a specific item isn’t available, your shopper will text you and suggest something similar, including a photo of the replacement item and cost.
Tip: Shipt has over 40,000 items to choose from, and if you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can use its search engine to find most items.
Price: $5.99-$11.99 for non-members; annual membership costs $149 with no delivery fee on orders over $35
Although membership isn’t required, signing up for a membership is one of the best ways to save money if you shop frequently. Instacart delivers products from stores such as Meijer, Aldi, Sam’s Club and Kroger and like Shipt, offers a free 2-week trial.
Note: If you sign up for Instacart’s free trial, you’ll be charged a recurring fee if you don’t cancel in time. Also, if you want your groceries within 2 hours or you order during peak delivery hours, you’ll pay $9.99. If not, delivery costs $5.99. Instacart also adds up to $0.40 extra to each product as a surcharge.
Instacart’s key features
- No membership is required.
- Your Instacart shopper will text you if a product isn’t available and will suggest a replacement.
- Instacart’s online reviews are generally positive.
- You can order from Costco and Sam’s Club without buying a membership.
Tip: Canceling your Instacart membership is easy. You can cancel any time using its app, and can even schedule a notification prior to your free trial expiration using your membership settings.
Price: $9.99 (orders under $50); delivery free for orders over $50 with $14.99 monthly membership (in addition to $99 annual Amazon Prime membership) – start your free 1 month trial
You must be an Amazon Prime member to sign up for AmazonFresh and must also pay $14.99 a month. AmazonFresh primarily ships from WholeFoods and offers a wide variety of meats, produce, toiletries and household products.
If specialty items such as Himalayan pink salt body wash, orange blossom honey
AmazonFresh’s key features
- Lots of gluten-free, vegan and organic food options are available along with regular weekly deals and discounts.
- You can sign up for a 30-day AmazonFresh free trial.
- AmazonFresh has received positive reviews for its friendly and responsive customer service.
- If you order an item and it’s not in stock, AmazonFresh will send you a similar item free of charge.
- Amazon Student Prime members can also sign up for AmazonFresh.
Tip: AmazonFresh has a 30-day refund policy, so if you’re unhappy with any item you can get a full refund or replacement.
Price: $5 to $7 per order with a $30 minimum
Walmart offers 2 delivery options: You can have your order delivered to your car at your local Walmart or to your home. There is no annual fee or membership requirement. Walmart might be your best option if you don’t want a commitment and prefer a pay-as-you-go service.
Note: Walmart’s home delivery service isn’t available at all stores, so check online first.
Walmart’s key features
- Walmart offers a huge selection of groceries and household items. If you need bath towels, toys and electronics, order away.
- Your Walmart shopper will unload your items and bring them right to your door.
- You’ll receive a welcome package of free goodies and samples with your first order and a gift box in the mail just for registering.
- Walmart’s prices are affordable, and Walmart won’t tack on an extra fee per item.
- The company’s in-store grocery pickup service is free (you order and pay for your groceries online and pick them up from a designated location within the store).
Tip: Refer a friend to Walmart’s delivery service and receive a $10 promo code on your next order.
Price: $95 (annual membership) or $10 per month
Google Express has partnered with stores such as Costco and Target but you can’t order perishables such as eggs and produce. You can order pretty much anything else and there is no delivery fee if you order $35 or more (it’ll cost you $3 if you’re under the minimum). The cost is $4.99 per order if you’re not a member.
Note: If you’re ordering from multiple stores, you’ll need to meet the minimum cart purchase for each store and you’ll have to go through separate checkout processes. Google Express is a good choice if you’re looking for a wider range of goods and you don’t require perishable items.
Google Express’s key features
- You can order from hundreds of stores that partner with Google Express such as Overstock, Kohl’s, Moosejaw and Petco.
- You don’t need a membership to shop.
- You can share your shopping list with others and store your order history for future orders.
Tip: You can get 25% off your first order if you use the Google Express app.
Find the Best Delivery Service
Craving your favorite chocolate chip mint ice cream and don’t want to get out of your pajamas? You can have your ice cream and eat it, too, in just a few clicks or taps. Note that you can’t order certain items using a delivery service such as lottery tickets, tobacco and live animals.
You probably won’t replace all of your grocery shopping with a delivery service, but it’s nice to know there are options available if you need them. Grocery delivery service would be a smart choice for parents with young children, those who don’t drive or have a vehicle and sick individuals or homebound seniors, to name a few.
We think grocery delivery services are fast and convenient and in many cases, worth the extra money. Sign up for a free trial, then download a budgeting app and try the service for a month or so to decide for yourself which delivery service you prefer.