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Busy Parents Should Consider Online Grocery Shopping
With all the things you have to do, wouldn't you love automate one? Many families with two working parents spend all week toiling away only to have weekends eaten up by mundane tasks. The good news is that you may be able to streamline one of those tasks. Online grocery shopping isn't for everyone, but it may be a solution for you.
History of Online Grocery Shopping
Online grocery shopping started back in the Dot-Com glory days and then seemed to bust along with the NASDAQ in the 1990s. Now online grocery shopping accounts for about 1% of grocery expenditures, which comes out to over $5 billion a year. And it's expected to grow according to the Food Marketing Institute.
Traditional brick and mortar grocery stores like Albertsons and Safeway are joining in the online business to offer another service to convenience craving consumers. Amazon is taking a lead in creating the world's largest online grocery.
Is It More Expensive?
Prices at online grocery stores may be more or less expensive depending on how you shop. Some stores offer price club style purchasing. You will buy in bulk and the price reflects that. At other stores you can buy single quantities at prices similar to that of your local store. The big difference is brands. You won't find store brands or inexpensive generics at most online grocery outlets. If you normally stick to these value brands (like I do!) know that you'll have to adjust because you're forced to buy the name brands.
However, it's easier to find sale items with efficient online searching. If you're dedicated to sale shopping and loyal to your brands, you may do better online. Also, shopping online may reduce some of your impulse purchases, although I'm sure the programmers are working on changing that!
We've proven as a society that we're willing to pay for convenience and what's more convenient than not rolling a rickety cart down aisle after aisle at the local store. I can think of nothing, except of course the friendly delivery man that brings your groceries into your house for you!
It can take a while to set up your account the first time, but after that you're set. All our friends who majored in computer science have automated grocery shopping. Lists will pop up with your previous purchases and you just click and go. It goes without saying that you'll need a decent Internet connection speed.
Feed Your Family Better
A lot of people worry about the quality of produce from an online retailer, but think about it. They can't send you a crumby bag of pears - you'd never shop there again. The food is great and comes in packaging designed to protect it and keep it cold.
At some sites you get access to the nutritional information of the groceries and you can even compare different cereals, for example, to learn which has higher fiber and lower sugar.
By far the biggest negative of online shopping of any kind is the shipping or delivery fees. Most online grocers have minimum order amounts of at least $50, and delivery charges can range from a flat fee of $5 to a 15% rate.
In a Pinch
Online grocery shopping isn't for everyone, but there are times every parent needs help. This type of shopping is great when kids are sick, when there's a new baby at home, or if you've got one too many soccer games in a week. Try it out and see how you like it. At any cost, it beats the drive through burger beast!