Grocery shopping online has become big business – at the moment tin Britain Sainsbury’s, Asda, Waitrose (through Ocado) and Tesco all offer a service to most people in the UK. Until fairly recently I was a home shopping virgin, but when my car was in the garage for a few days and I didn’t fancy struggling with a weeks shopping and a toddler on the bus I decoded to give it a go!
As I had received an e-mail offering me free delivery for a first delivery I opted to shop at Tesco.com and began to process very gingerly.
I soon found that my first job was registering, this though was a very easy process and I was soon able to start my first virtual shopping spree. The first thing that I needed to do was to book a ‘slot’ – this is the day and time when your shopping will be delivered – each ‘slot’ varies slightly in delivery fee depending on the time, as I was armed with a free delivery code I was happy to chose one that suited me best without worrying about the cost!
That done I was ready to start pushing my mouse rather than a trolley; being one who loves a bargain I decided to look in the ‘special offer’ section first just to check if there was anything that suited my family. From then I went through each section choosing items from each one and adding them to my ever growing list, I had a little problem finding a couple of specific items I needed from these lists but soon found them when I typed them into the web site’s own search engine. With each item you order there is a + or – alongside it for you to increase the quantity (or decrease if you suddenly realise you have ordered 33 loaves of bread instead of 3 as I did!)
As I was shopping my shopping list (basket) was shown on the right hand side of my monitor, each item was priced and there was also the total price so far shown (although any savings were not shown until I had finished my shopping). I was able to add or remove quantities from the basket or remove the item altogether and it was all very quick and simple once I got into it.
OK, so I had ordered all I needed, next I was given the choice to let Tesco substitute any items that happened to be out of stock when they made up my order, I also get the chance to reject these substitutes when they arrive if they do not suit – the difference being put back onto your credit or debit card.
I am a Tesco Clubcard owner and I was able to put in the number of this card and gain the points, however if you are NOT a Clubcard owner – Tesco automatically set up an account for you.
I have since found the big advantage of this, there is a ‘favourites ’section on the website which holds all the goods that you have bought – not only online but also from the supermarket ad your Clubcard stores all the details of what you have bought.
The ‘favourites’ is an excellent idea as when you do subsequent orders they are so much quicker as you can just go through what you’ve bought before.
Back though to my initial shop, after finishing my ‘shop’ I was able view my basket to ensure that I hadn’t missed anything, and I came to check out.
Here I was given the choice to be ‘green’ and to have my shopping delivered without carrier bags, which I thought was a great idea – you also receive ‘green’ Clubcard points for doing this. I also had the option to amend my order – adding or deleting items – up to a certain time on the day of my delivery – depending on your allotted slot.
There is a secure accounts page for entering your card details, although the money is not actually taken from your account until after your shopping is delivered.
So that was my shopping done, I received an e-mail confirmation with a complete list of what I had ordered and I just had to wait for my delivery the next day.
My order was due between 10.00 am and 12.00 noon, I was just hoping that they were good at their word as I had a short time slot for putting away my shopping and going out to pick up my daughter from nursery, but I didn’t need to worry at 10.30 there was a knock at my door and I was greeted by a friendly delivery man who welcomed me to Tesco and gave me a voucher for a free delivery for my next shop, he then explained the whole process of the receipt and substitutes to me as a first time user – I had a couple of substitutes which the driver pointed out to me, I didn’t have to accept them if I didn’t want them, however Tesco’s policy is to replace the items out of stock with higher priced items at the original price, so I kept them anyway!
I had opted for bagless delivery so my shopping was delivered in crates, I instantly regretted this as I then had to load the goods all around my kitchen , future orders I had delivered in bags, going green isn’t always that easy!
I was very impressed with my first virtual shop and I have continued to use the service even when I had my car back. I know that you have to pay for delivery but by the time that you add on your petrol and the fact that you are not adding little ‘extras’ to your shopping (especially if you have kiddies with you) I think that you soon make up that cost, and if you search the internet you can often pick up free delivery vouchers.
If you haven’t yet been tempted to online grocery shopping, don’t be scared of the experience – it really is very easy and convenient, and as Tesco say ‘you shop and they drop’!