6 Savings Tips for Online Grocery Services
While online grocery services have been around since at least the late 1990s, they really didn’t gain popularity until the last few years. COVID-19 helped to propel the specialty service into the multibillion-dollar industry it is today. Projections indicate the sector will continue to grow and is growing faster than the overall economy.
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Today, consumers have more options than ever before when shopping online for groceries. Customers can opt to go directly through a brick-and-mortar retailer like Walmart through its Walmart+ subscription service, or they can go through a third-party company such as Instacart. Unfortunately, if you aren’t a savvy shopper, your grocery bill could increase exponentially using these services.
We asked our experts how to cut costs while taking advantage of these convenient services. Here are six savings tips they recommended when using an online grocery company.
Become an Avid Couponer
Online orderers be on the lookout for coupons, said Steven Holmes, the senior investment advisor at iCash. “Online ordering platforms like Instacart will automatically apply for retailer promotions when you shop.”
He added, “Also, stores like Walmart and Target frequently run promotions for first-time online grocery buyers or product-specific discounts and promos. Although online coupons and promo codes might not always match in-store prices, verifying before placing an order never hurts.”
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Pay Attention to Time
Holmes suggested that customers avoid busy shopping hours. He said, “I frequently use this approach while ordering groceries online. Some supermarket delivery services add a premium if you want your order delivered during a busy hour. Instacart, for example, calls this ‘busy pricing.’ Choose a different time to receive your groceries if you see such a charge applied to your order.”
Gabriel Lalonde, president of MDL Financial Group, agreed, “If you can be flexible with your delivery time, choosing off-peak hours can be cheaper than peak hours. Most online grocery stores such as Walmart+, Instacart, and Shipt offer various delivery options, such as same-day delivery or next-day delivery. Customers can potentially save on delivery fees or avoid the rush charge by choosing a delivery window that falls outside of peak hours.”
Look For Exclusive Deals
“Every once in a while, grocery delivery services will email their customers with exclusive deals,” Holmes said. “You might get offers for free things, promo codes for discounts, and exclusive reductions that you can only get by buying specific products. So, I advise checking your inbox before placing your online grocery order.”
Name-brand doesn’t always mean better. Salim Benadel, director at Storm Internet, recommended that online shoppers “opt for generic brands.” Benadel added, “The price of generic brands is typically lower than that of name-brand products, and in many instances, the quality of both types of products is comparable. When placing an order for groceries online, it is in your best interest to search for generic or store-brand alternatives to the specific things you require.”
Find Cash-Back Deals
Don’t miss out on free money with your shopping. Menu Price deals and discount expert Marcus Arcabascio said, “When shopping online for groceries, you can save money by installing browser extensions such as Honey. It’s a great way to find coupons and secure cash-back deals. This extension saves you from the hassle of manually looking for deals and testing if the promo code is working or not!”
He added, “Using the Honey extension is like having a shopping guru who’s there to help you save big on grocery items. When shopping online, you can simply click on the extension to see how much you would be able to save. This extension can work with a number of online retailers.”
Buy in Bulk
“One of the best ways to save on non-perishable grocery items when you’re using an online service is to buy them in large quantities,” said TrueTrae.com smart shopping expert Trae Bodge.
She added, “If you are buying an item that you use regularly and have available storage space, the unit prices will be lower when you buy in bulk. And the items are being delivered so you don’t have to carry them! Two online options that sell a vast array of bulk items are Boxed.com (an online fee-free wholesale club) and Amazon.”
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 6 Savings Tips for Online Grocery Services