Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ecart Grocery Shopping

In August, when Brian was unexpectedly out-of-town for two weeks, I decided to try ecart, the online grocery shopping service offered by Raley's and BelAir.

I first learned about this service a few months ago while reading the Auburn Journal

Now you might be thinking, Doesn't it cost money to order your groceries online?

Well, yes...and no.  

It's common for grocery stores to charge a small fee (around $5) to shop for your food.

Right now, though, Raley's and BelAir will pay the service charges on your first five orders--regardless of how much you spend.  In other words, it's FREE!

After that, it's $4.95 per order.  However, anytime you spend $100 or more, there is no service charge.

See why I said yes...and no?

Since it's free for your first five orders, I figured I might as well give it a try.

And I'm really glad I did.

Essentially, there are four steps to ecart: 1) you shop online; 2) you drive to the grocery store; 3) the personal shopper loads the groceries in your car; 4) you pay.

It's really that simple!

A few notes about the process:

1) Before I shopped online, I made a list on my iPhone.  That way, I could look through the cupboards and refrigerator and decide what I needed. (You can also make a shopping list on the ecart website.)

2) With my phone/list in hand, I logged onto the ecart website and placed items in my cart.  I relied on the product search bar to find many items, such as "fat free milk" and "graham crackers."  I just typed in the food I was looking for, and the search engine pulled up a list of choices.

3) When the product search bar didn't locate my generic Grape-Nuts (I couldn't remember the exact name for them), I clicked on "Browse the Aisles."  From there, I selected the Department (Cereal and breakfast) from a drop-down menu, then the aisle (cold cereal), and finally the category (wheat, multi-grain). And there appeared my Nutty Nuggets.   

4) For each item, there is a comments section where you can type in your preferences.  For instance, when I added bananas to my cart, I typed, "More green than yellow, please" in the comments section.  

**Halfway through my shopping experience, Noah woke up from his nap, so I simply saved my cart and returned to it that night after Noah went to bed.**  

5) When I'd finished filling up my cart, I selected a day and time for pick-up.

6)  I arrived at the store on said day, parked in the ecart lane, and pushed the button for service.  Minutes later, an ecart service provider brought out my groceries and loaded them into my car.

7) Lastly, I paid for my groceries and Noah and I drove away.

Noah missed it all; he was asleep the entire time. 

My thoughts on the experience:
  • Shopping online was a quick process--except when I had difficulty locating my Nutty Nuggets.  Did I save a ton of time shopping online as opposed to in the store?  Not really, but I got to shop in my pajamas! 
  • And why not shop online if it's free, right?
  • I felt a bit like a princess, driving up to the store and buzzing for my groceries.  (But being spoiled every so often is a good thing, I think.) 
  • A big plus: There are no impulse buys in the checkout lane when you shop online. 
  • Will I shop online again?  Absolutely.  Especially if we need to buy food for a camping trip or a big party.  Or if Brian is out-of-town again for an extended period of time.
While talking to a friend recently, she mentioned another online grocery shopping option: Having your groceries delivered to you.  (I think I would feel like a queen if that happened!)

If you're interested in having your groceries delivered to your home, Safeway is running a special right now.  When you place a grocery order of $49 or more, they will deliver your food to you for FREE.  Check out Safeway's website for more details.

Have you shopped online for groceries?  What was your experience?  Would you do it again?

1 comment:

Sathi Aja said...

It is the ease and convenience of grocery delivery service online that is wooing more customers to the virtual stores. They are fast realizing the many benefits of
online grocery shopping.You also save on fuel as there is no need to make those endless trips to the local grocery every other day.Yeah interested people can visit us for details about Dallas Texas online grocery delivery servie-online grocery delivery service

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