It’s Wednesday. That means that as soon as I’ve finished this post, I’m in the car and on my way to pick up this week’s farm basket.
I belong to a CSA called Abundant Harvest Organics. Each week, the fine farmers fill my crate with a variety of just-picked fruits and vegetables then a truck delivers my crate to a local flower shop where I go to pick it up. Usually, while I’m out and about, I stop at the local grocery store to pick up ingredients to turn my fresh goodies into meals. The entire process takes a couple of hours and though I do like to grocery shop, I always come home feeling stressed about the time away from the computer.
Okay, that last part might be my own psychological problem, but there’s no denying that grocery shopping takes time. If you’re trying to buy farm fresh goods, that takes even more time and if you’re working a 9-5 office job, you’re not going to get to the Friday morning farmer’s market.
The solution is right there in front of you – buy your groceries online and have them delivered. Simple and yet only a small portion of American shoppers are doing it. Why?
Crimson Hexagon wanted the answer to that question so they made a study of three major online grocery options - Peapod, FreshDirect, and AmazonFresh.
Peapod operates mostly in the north east covering ground between Massachusetts and Maryland. They carry organic produce, meats, baby food, prepared foods and even low-cost store brands. What’s really amazing is that they not only accept manufacturer’s coupons, they’ll double them. Couponing is one of the reasons I shop in a physical store but there isn’t a store in my neighborhood that doubles coupons any more.
Peapod customers said that the allure of the online store is convenience. They don’t want to or can’t get to a store so they shop online. Customers also liked that they could get a good deal and use coupons. Overall, 66% of the comments were positive. 12% of customers complained about problems with delivery times and 10% said Peapod got their order wrong. Sounds like Peapod could benefit from a little more attention to detail and lesson in proper customer service.
New York based FreshDirect has double the social media buzz of Peapod, unfortunately for them, 50% of it is negative. The company pushes the fact that you can shop their own “private farmer’s market” and they’ll deliver to the office so you don’t have to worry about being home. But locals are unhappy about the pollution caused by the company’s delivery trucks and low wages for workers.
Of the three companies, AmazonFresh is the one on top. Their social buzz is 75% positive and 14% of potential customers intend to try the service. Right now, they’re limited to only Los Angeles and Seattle but they offer something no other online grocery store can – a wide selection of non-food items. Literally, you can order dinner and a movie at 9 in the morning and have it delivered to your house that night.
AmazonFresh makes a few other smart moves. They offer specialty food items from local restaurants and boutique stores. And they keep deliveries fresh by including frozen water bottles with water that is safe to drink. You can also arrange for a pre-dawn delivery (they promise they won’t knock or ring the bell) and you don’t have to tip the drivers (but you can leave an e-tip if you want.)
Best of all there are no delivery charges and all you have to do is spend at least $35. Really? Oh, wait. . . in order to join, you have to buy a yearly Amazon Prime Fresh membership for only $299. That does include all the benfits of the normal Amazon Prime program, so it’s a real bargain?
In addition to the fees, a few customers also complained about lack of selection and website issues. But the majority of customers were fans.
Looking at this chart, you can see that only a small percentage of people who aren’t currently customers intend to try the service. For most of America, these services aren’t even an option so that skews things quite a bit. Maybe online grocery shopping is just a city thing. If I lived in a 4th floor walk-up in New York, I’d pay extra to have my groceries delivered. How about you?