Maybe shopping in person actually does save time?

  • September 19th, 2007

Yesterday I was hoping to have some free time to visit the grocery store to pick-up a few necessities. Unfortunately, I realized all too late that hopping in a car for a trip to the grocery store was out of the question.

Safeway.com online grocery shopping

Having heard a thing or two about the “convenience” of shopping online for groceries, I decided I might as well give Safeway.com a try. Considering I shop online for miscellaneous items like clothing, gadgets, video games, or anything else non-consumable, why not order produce, eggs, cheese, or Oreo’s? Amazon’s announcement of AmazonFresh (direct competition with mainstream grocery stores for “fresh produce” who have gone online) is proof that ordering vegetables, dairy, alcohol, and Toaster Strudel’s should be no different from a Logitech mouse, Banana Republic sweater, or custom tailored suit from Indochino (a detailed review to come).

AmazonFresh

AmazonFresh in its current state is a closed beta for the Greater Seattle area. Until the site goes live, online shoppers can check out the existing Amazon Grocery store for regular shelf items. Until the online giant opens the doors to AmazonFresh, shoppers can make use of any number of grocery store services that have gone online [in your area]: Safeway, Pink Dot, Albertons, or any one of the stores listed here.

Shopping for groceries is not the same as shopping for…

Contrary to what you may believe, shopping for groceries online is not the same as shopping for an iPod, a new computer, or cellphone. YMMV. Recommendations, related items, the overall web interface for product presentation is just not here yet. Widespread adoption of online stores is dependent on improving the ease and simplicity of shopping for groceries online.

Shop for salsa

Last night, I spent 50 minutes shopping for groceries online when an actual trip to the store would have taken 35 minutes [including the commute]. Get in, grab exactly what you want, and get out. Although I knew exactly what I wanted, it was a challenge to find everything online. Browsing store aisles is much easier than browsing small thumbnails in your browser – clicking on items, squinting, hoping that what you’ve selected is what you intended to purchase. Even then, an option during checkout requests permission to replace unavailable items with similar products [if necessary].

Despite having everything within a few mouse-clicks, Syl insisted that I not order produce – preferring to make the trip herself to pick-up and inspect vegetables at the market. It is difficult to believe that your produce will be the freshest, unbruised, or the ripest choice of the pick upon delivery.