Vol.1, No.5

What is online grocery shopping?

Online grocery shopping is gaining popularity in the US, but it still has some work to do before it is something that the average American family is able to do.

Groceries bought online
Photo Credit: Tom Mc Nemar
Are you tired of waiting on long lines at the grocery store? Sick of loading up your car trunk with bags and bags of food? Well, you're in luck. You can give up the grocery carts for good by switching over to online grocery shopping. That right - you can actually shop for groceries in the comfort of your own living room. No need to get dressed and load the baby in the car. Just kick back in your pajamas and sit down in front of your computer. Does this sound too good to be true? Well, in some ways, it is. Grocery shopping online has yet to be perfected in the United States, so there are some downsides. However, if you are lucky enough to live in an area where an online grocer is willing to deliver, it is definitely worth giving it a try.

First things first - before you can decide to make the switch to online grocery shopping, you have to make sure that there is an online grocer that delivers to your area. Unfortunately, there are lots of rural areas that these companies have not yet expanded to. If you live in a big city, there is a good chance that you will be able to find an online grocer. New York City is hands-down the top US city for online grocery shopping, so New Yorkers currently have the widest selection of companies to choose from. If you search for "online grocery shopping" through the search engine of your choice, you will be able to find several results. Currently, the top companies are Peapod and NetGrocer. When you visit an online grocer's website, the first thing that you should do is check that they deliver within your zip code.

Online grocery shopping came about in the US in the mid-1990s during the "dotcom" craze. However, it really didn't take off at the time - consumers weren't yet ready to trust the internet with something as important as their grocery lists. However, now that internet shopping is such an enormously gigantic business, it's no wonder that there is a new buzz around online grocery shopping. If you are going to give it a try (and you have already checked that the company of your choice delivers to your hometown), you should have a high-speed internet connection. Using a dial-up connection will be very slow and frustrating, and you'll end up having to spend more time buying groceries from your home computer than you would probably spend driving to the store as you normally do.

Hopefully some of the American online grocery stores will take a look at the great online grocers that New Zealand has to offer. New Zealand is really at the top of the pack when it comes to high-quality, convenient online grocery shopping. Woolworths in NZ is an absolutely phenomenal online grocer, and they have high-quality produce and vegetables that are just as affordable online as they are in the stores. They offer a huge selection of foods from a wide selection of brands, and there really isn't an American online grocer that even comes close to comparing to their quality and usability. Hopefully, within the next few years, America will catch up!