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Grocery delivery apps allow customers to purchase and receive groceries without leaving their home. These apps experienced huge growth during the COVID-19 pandemic.
An Inmar Intelligence survey found that 78.7% of consumers reported using grocery delivery apps during the pandemic.
Which grocery delivery app is best depends on where a person lives, which stores they tend to purchase from, and their budget.
This article explains how grocery delivery apps work and lists some of the best apps available. We also provide information to help people decide whether a grocery delivery app is the right choice for them.
Grocery delivery apps allow users to select and order groceries directly through the app.
Most grocery delivery apps are subscription services. This means that a user pays an annual or monthly fee in addition to the price tag of the groceries. Users also have the option to tip delivery drivers.
Most apps remember previous grocery lists, making it easy to order the same items again. If an item a user orders is not available, the shopper may contact the user about a substitution, select their own substitution, or leave the item off the list. The available options depend on the app and the preferences a user indicates.
Consumers can see the price of the food before they order. In most cases, there is also a delivery fee, although some apps waive these fees for large orders, new users, or subscribing members.
A wide range of popular grocers and big-box stores offer delivery through grocery apps. The specific grocers a person can access depend on the app they use and their geographic location.
Some examples of stores a person can access through an app are:
- Food Lion
- Whole Foods
- Cub Foods
- Mollie Stone’s Markets
- Shop ‘n Save
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend minimizing errands during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using a delivery app reduces the total number of people in stores, thereby protecting both an individual’s and public health.
Grocery delivery apps may also be beneficial for:
- people with physical disabilities that limit their ability to shop in a store
- people who have weakened immune systems and want to avoid going out in public during cold and flu season
- people with social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other mental health conditions that may make shopping stressful
- people recovering from childbirth or surgery
- busy parents or caregivers
Additionally, research suggests that home grocery delivery may be beneficial for people attempting to lose weight or make more healthful dietary choices. This is because delivery reduces impulse purchases and encourages people to plan meals. A 2013 study suggests that shopping to a predetermined list may be a good strategy for reducing obesity.
Some of the most popular grocery delivery apps are outlined below.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based.
Shipt is a subscription service that offers both an Apple- and Android-compatible app, as well as a web interface. It is available primarily in the Southeastern United States.
The stores a person can choose to shop from vary from city to city. However, they usually include a mix of grocers and other retailers, such as:
- CVS Pharmacy
Users select their chosen groceries, pick a delivery window, and provide instructions about substitutions. They then use their card details to prepay for the order. After the purchase, Shipt adjusts the price by adding an additional charge if the user adds products or by refunding money for any groceries that are out of stock.
Amazon Fresh is available as both an Android and Apple app, as well as through Amazon’s web interface. The app offers food from Amazon’s local warehouses. This means that if an item appears as in stock, it will almost certainly be available when a shopper picks up the customer’s order.
In most cases, a user can receive their food almost immediately. However, some items and regions have longer delivery timetables.
Delivery is usually free for 2-hour deliveries over $35, although 1-hour deliveries carry a fee. Users have the option to tip a driver, but tipping is not mandatory.
Instacart offers access to the widest range of retailers across the country, but the specific grocers available vary greatly from area to area. The Instacart app is available on Apple and Android devices.
Instacart’s first delivery is free for new users. Thereafter, delivery fees start at $3.99.
Instacart places a hold on user’s account after they order food, then drops the hold and charges the total cost of food after delivery. Users can choose to tip the driver, but tipping is optional.
Peapod is its own grocery store as opposed to a delivery service that works in partnership with other stores. It is available in a small number of cities and offers an app on both Apple and Android devices.
The Peapod app updates its inventory in real time, which means that selected groceries are less likely to be out of stock.
Peapod generally offers next-day delivery, but in some regions, customers can access same-day delivery.
Walmart offer grocery delivery direct from their stores. While there is a small delivery fee, users can sign up for Delivery Unlimited for $13 a month and get unlimited grocery deliveries at no additional charge. The fee does not include a tip for the driver.
Because Walmart update their own inventory, users generally report fewer out-of-stock items.
Dumpling works differently from the traditional grocery delivery model. Rather than contracting with a limited number of grocers, Dumpling works with personal shoppers. Users can then select a shopper who shops at a store they wish to purchase from.
Dumpling offers a web interface, as well as apps on Android and Apple devices.
Customers can develop a relationship with a shopper who knows their tastes, or they can simply pick the shopper with the highest review each time they order.
Reviewers note that Dumpling allows them to develop relationships with shoppers who are building a personal shopping business. The app may therefore be an attractive option for consumers who are concerned about fair pay for delivery drivers.
Grocery delivery apps charge a delivery or subscription fee that usually constitutes a small fraction of the total delivery price. For many people, these time-saving services are worth the extra fee. Also, for people with chronic health conditions, grocery delivery apps offer a safe alternative to in-store shopping.
For some people, grocery apps are little more than a needless expense. People with access to only a limited number of grocers, or those who find that their favorite items are frequently out of stock may choose in-person shopping. This will allow them to survey the entire store and get what they need.
The only way for a person to know for sure if an app is worth using is to try it out. People on a limited budget may wish to consider an app with a free introductory delivery service.
Grocery delivery apps are a convenient option for people who want to avoid the grocery store and save time shopping for food.
There are many grocery delivery apps available to download on both Apple and Android devices. Some also offer an option to shop through a web interface.
In order to find the best grocery delivery app, people can consider the types of shops they wish to shop from, as well as app subscription fees and local delivery options. They can also compare prices between the different apps in order to find the best deal.