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North Hills Monthly

Grocery Pick-up and Delivery Services Offer Convenience during Holidays and Year-round

Nov 29, 2019 12:53PM ● By Kathleen Ganster

Photo courtesy Amazon Prime

Tracy Fraser is a busy person. The oncologist works full-time, and she and her husband have two young daughters. The O’Hara township mom rises quite early to get her children ready for daycare and school, then doesn’t get home until after 5 or 6 p.m. Her husband’s schedule is equally busy, and the last thing either of them want to do at the end of another crazy day is grocery shop.

“It’s wonderful. We don’t have the be there; they just plop it at our front door, and it is there when we get home,” she said of Whole Foods’ free delivery service through Amazon Prime for orders of $35 or more. 

Fraser estimates that they use a delivery service about once a week, taking advantage of a few different stores.

“I like Amazon Prime (Whole Foods), but also use Giant Eagle curbside, and I buy dry goods from Walmart and Target. It is just so convenient,” Fraser said. 

Whole Foods’ two-hour delivery service is available exclusively for Prime members and is now free for orders of $35 or more, according to Carly Golden, Whole Foods’ spokesperson. “We started the grocery delivery in February 2018, and it has been extremely popular. Whole Foods’ customers have grown to love very specific items and brands,” she said. 

With this service, shoppers visit the Whole Foods’ section on the Amazon website at www.amazon.com/grocery and enter their zip code to find the closest store. They then select their groceries along with a two-hour delivery window. To take advantage of free delivery, customers must have a $35 minimum order or pay a $4.99 delivery fee. Customers may also select a one-hour delivery window for a $4.99 fee on orders over $35, or $9.99 on orders under $35. There is also an optional tip for the driver.

“Prime members have unlimited delivery services—you can order as many times as you want with no fee as long as you meet the minimum order requirements,” Golden said. 

A Whole Foods’ employee at the local store serves as the shopper, gathering the groceries on the customer’s list from the shelves. 

“If we are out of something, the shopper communicates with the customer to suggest a substitute or see if they want something else,” Golden said.  

Fraser also uses Giant Eagle Curbside Delivery Express (https://www.gianteagle.com/in-store-services/curbside-express) to pick up groceries. Much like Whole Foods, customers visit the website, chose a store location, then select their groceries. They also slate a time when they will stop at the store to pick up their groceries—pickup slots are available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at most locations. While it isn’t as convenient as delivery, it still saves time. The service is free for an order of $35 or more, and many customers also tip at the curb. 

Giant Eagle also delivers to certain locations with varying fees, according to same-day or next-day delivery services and delivery location. Next-day delivery fees start as low as $5.95 with same-day delivery fees as low as $9.95. Customers may visit the Giant Eagle website and enter their address to see if they are eligible for this type of delivery. There must be someone at the delivery location to sign for the groceries or they will be returned to the store.  

Walmart also offers curbside pickup at select locations (https://grocery.walmart.com) with a service similar to Giant Eagle’s. Customers shop online for groceries and select a pickup time between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Walmart employees then pull the groceries from the shelves and meet customers at the curb, loading the groceries into the vehicle. Individual stores may have minimum dollar purchase requirements for free pickup services. There are also a very limited number of Walmarts that deliver fresh groceries in the Pittsburgh area.

Target (www.target.com/grocery) offers grocery and other items for same-day delivery services utilizing Shipt, an outside carrier service. Like the other services, customers shop online, enter their address and schedule a delivery time. They can pay a one-time fee or purchase a membership for $99 a year for unlimited deliveries of $35 or more. Customers can find what services are available by visiting the Target website.

Shopping online allows customers to quickly see online savings and specials including those targeted according to their own tastes from past purchases. Besides being an obvious time-saver, there are other benefits.

“I live in Seattle where parking is always difficult, so I don’t have to worry about finding parking or the fees. And of course, I save on gas,” Golden said.

Planning ahead and shopping online also saves on impulse buys, but there are some disadvantages.

“I may not get to see new products and if I don’t know it exists, I don’t buy it,” said Fraser. “I also may miss out on trying something new because of that as well. Plus, I do like picking out my own meat and produce.” 

She also knows that they may not be getting the best deal on all of their groceries. “But the convenience is definitely worth it,” she said.