Online Grocery Shopping – Part One

Superquinn

FOOD SHOPPING online. That’s what I’m resorting to. Or perhaps, changing to. Judging from the time between this tweet and the confirmation email I received from Superquinn, I’m guessing my entire weekly shop was done in around 17 minutes.

No driving across town. No parking. No queuing. No impulse buying (okay, maybe a little with the breakfast cereal) and all within a €1 shout of my weekly budget.

The Background

Budgeting is something I’ve got to do more of this year, both through the business and with personal finances. In that regard, a lot of attention was turned towards my food shopping spend during the week. If 2008 was a year for regular grocery shopping, 2009 was a year of convenience shopping. Forget about bringing lunches to work, just nip across the road to the shop near the office and drop €30-40 a week on bits and bobs from the tea / salad / hot food bar. Forget about planning any kind of dinners for the week, just drop into SuperValu on the drive home and pick up something – anything. Or failing that, spring for a takeaway. Week in, week out, same old story. So between the office eating habits, mixed dinner shoping and takeaways I reckon I burned somewhere in the region of €3,700, with maybe €3,300 or so going on convenience lunch and dinner shopping.

So this year, I’ve given myself a budget of €50 for the week to cover food shopping. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, the whole lot. Estimating for 48 weeks of the year that’s €2,400, almost a €1,000 of a difference. I’m hoping too, I can stick to it through online shopping.

The Shopping

The choice was pretty easy in the end. The small local shops like Centra, Freshco etc. are too small for online ordering. SuperValu and Dunnes (both located in Kilkenny city environs) don’t offer such a service. I’ll shop at Lidl but it would be for something very specific (their fresh veg is quite good). There’s no Tesco in Kilkenny, at least of yet, so the only possibility as I see it was to shop at Superquinn. They’ve long been installed in Kilkenny but again, if you’re going food shopping there you need to allocate plenty of time between getting into the multistorey, shopping, the mad queues etc.

So, I skip on over to Superquinn.ie, sign myself up in two minutes, complete the registration for the Superclub card and away I go.

The process is quite straight forward. Shop by department or browse through categorised special offers. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, go for one of their pre-made shopping lists (e.g. New Mum & Baby, Organic, Superior Quality etc.). So I begin to browse, working my way through fruit & veg, meats, groceries, going for what’s tried and trusted or what usually forms part of the weekly-ish shopping.

Superquinn shopping basket (online)

The layout is as you would expect, and want, to find. Each item displayed gets a box or product shot, the price and choice to add to basket. Once you’ve got the product in the basket you’re able to add notes to yourself or add it to your favourite items, remembered for the next time you shop. Dig a little deeper into the product itself and you’ll get full description, serving suggestions, cooking instructions, ingredients and nutrition information.

You’re also able to add product-specific notes to your personal shopper (assuming this is the person who will be filling your shopping from the store), including whether you would like an item substituted or not.

Skip to the end and within that 17 minute window I’ve completed my weekly shopping, picked my delivery window of 10:30-12:30 tomorrow (Tuesday) – as opposed to a “click and collect” service – and managed to squeeze in eevrything I wanted, and delivery, for an estimated €51.02. Payment options are available for both credit and laser cards. It says estimated, I guess, to allow for substitution or non-substitution, as the case may be, of items on your shopping list. The full shopping list is stored online and emailed direct to your account and I’ll be checking it against the arrival tomorrow.

Why I’ve not opted to food-shop online before I’m not sure but if anything, I managed to stick to the budget (plus or minus a euro) and likely got an hour back in the day for the time spent online. With the list saved for next week’s shopping, barring any small changes, I would imagine there would be more time saved in the day.

I’ll follow up with a part two tomorrow, providing the shopping arrives when it says it should…