Buying groceries online has become more of a necessity than a luxury. In wake of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, people in India had no option than to shop for groceries online.
And they could also buy essentials such as meat, fish, poultry products as well as fruits and vegetables online. The trend continues even though we’re almost at the end of 2021.
And indications are that buying groceries online in India is going to become a way of life for most Indians, including those living in semi-urban centers in the country.
Growth in Online Grocers
As a matter of fact, India is witnessing a boom in the number of online retailers offering grocery deliveries to our homes.
Several small and medium sized companies which had wholesale or even offline retails of grocery are now offering home deliveries for those who buy groceries online.
Added to that, we have food delivery companies such as Swiggy now offering grocery deliveries.
And also in the fray are Amazon Pantry, Flipkart Foodmart, Jio-Sodexho and many more. Other companies such as Patanjali Ayurved and SriSri Tattva are also offering grocery products online.
Most of them offer free home deliveries, if your order is worth a certain value.
The reason all these companies are in the grocery business now is clear: they’re expecting a boom in online grocery orders from Indian customers. And this boom will continue for years to come.
10 Considerations While Buying Groceries Online
At the same time, customers like us also need to consider 10 things before buying groceries online.
That way, we could save a lot of money and also get the highest quality of products. In this article, I will discuss the top 10 things to consider before buying groceries online.
You can use these tips and tweaks to make the best of your online grocery shopping, the next time you need to place an order for your household or even office.
Reputation of the Online Store
Reputation of the online store is the first thing you need to consider before buying groceries online.
As I mentioned earlier, a lot of new players have entered the online grocery market. Unfortunately, not every online grocer can deliver superior quality products that you want.
Selecting a wrong online grocer might cause you to end up with inferior products and no chance to seek refunds or replacements. You can easily find many reputed online grocery stores near you with the help of the internet.
Deliveries in Your Area
Even some of the largest online grocers in India don’t have deliveries to certain parts of major cities.
Usually, you’ll have to provide an address with your Postal Index Number (PIN) code for the delivery.
And an online store might have deliveries to that PIN code but not specifically your area. In such cases, you might order something and find that the online grocery store is unable to deliver the order.
Free Doorstep Delivery
Since groceries are often bulky, check whether the online grocer is offering free home or office delivery.
Usually, larger websites do provide a free delivery but your order has to be worth a minimum value. Additionally, some products in your shopping cart might not qualify for a free delivery.
Therefore, check these details carefully when you’re buying groceries online. Sometimes, the delivery costs can wipe out any discounts and special offers that you get on other items.
Generally, good retailers offer free doorstep deliveries. However, in such cases, you also need to know when the order would be delivered to you. Sometimes, it can take up to three or four working days for an order to reach you.
Also check the returns policy of an online retailer when you’re buying groceries. This is important because you might get some products that are nearing expiry date and you would like to return them.
Or some of the packages from your order could be damaged. A returns policy means you can send these items back and get a replacement or refund for the product.
Normally, good online retailers have a superb returns policy, if your complaint about a product is genuine.
Most online sellers of grocery offer excellent daily discounts on specific products. Therefore, check these websites at least one or two days before you place an order for your groceries.
You might land some excellent bargains for your favorite brand or range of products. Most of the online stores from where I buy groceries have daily promotions of some or the other brand.
If there’re no minimum order restrictions, you can place more than one order and get the discounts.
Check for Discount Coupons and Codes
While we’re still on the topic of discounts and promos, check couponing websites before you shop for groceries online.
These coupons can help you slice off up to 10 percent on your final grocery bills. There’re lots of couponing websites such as Groupon and Grabon.com where you can find amazing discount codes and coupons for your daily requirements.
A lot of people miss out on such superb discounts because they don’t use codes and coupons while buying groceries online.
Modes of Payment
Generally, online retailers in India offer different types of payment methods to their customers.
However, it’s always best to check whether an online retailer accepts the mode in which you prefer to pay.
As a rule, I always opt for cash-on-delivery (COD) orders while shopping for groceries at no extra cost.
That allows me the flexibility to cancel the order if I find things cheaper on another website. A good online retailer should offer payment through net banking, Unified Payments Interface (UPI), credit and debit cards as well as COD, among other methods.
Always Check Your Order
Regardless of how trusted your online store is, always check your order when it arrives and find whether you’re being billed for what’s been delivered.
That’s because sometimes, the online retailer might forget to pack in one or more products from your order.
This usually happens when we order a specific item in larger numbers. For example, you might receive only five bars of soap instead of the six you ordered.
Checking your groceries also helps you find whether any packaging was damaged and refuse to accept the delivery.
New Product Launches
I’ve found excellent bargains and superb products when I’ve ordered products that’re newly launched by an online retailer.
Usually, online sellers offer hefty discounts on such products to popularize a brand. Though it might not be the brand you use regularly, it’s no harm to try something new that might deliver even better value for money.
Usually, the online retailer will flash a blurb that says that the item is new on their website.
After Sales Service
Despite everything going well with the order, we might still encounter some problems with the stuff we’ve ordered.
In such cases, the only option that we have as consumers is to contact the After Sales Service department of the online retailer.
Therefore, make sure that the online retailer provides such support to redress any grievances that you might have.
After sales service is also important when it comes to tracking your order in case of late deliveries and refunds for cancelled orders.
Consider these 10 things before you’re buying groceries online. Not only can they help you save some money but they could also prevent you from facing any unnecessary hassles concerning wrong deliveries, spoiled or near expiry stuff and damaged goods.
Before concluding, I will also suggest you to beware of frauds. Nowadays, there’re fraud websites that appear like genuine ones and offer groceries at unimaginably low rates.
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They ask you to make an order worth a specific amount to qualify for these low rates. And once you make the payment, they vanish with your money. Therefore, be careful while shopping for groceries online.