About Grocery Delivery Businesses

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As people find themselves running short on time, they are turning to agencies providing help with household tasks, such as grocery shopping. Grocery delivery business take a customer's shopping list, do the shopping and deliver the groceries to the person's home. There are a wide variety of grocery deliver businesses from large national ones that will ship the groceries to small local ones that will go to the neighborhood market.

Function

Grocery delivery businesses allow people to complete grocery shopping without setting foot into a supermarket. Businesses receive orders from customers, fill them and delivery the groceries. Depending on the type of business, orders may be entered on the company's website using a list of available products or customers can generate their own shopping list and e-mail it directly to the business. Once the customer's order is filled, grocery delivery businesses either drop it off at the customer's home or business, or ship the order by express or overnight mail to the customer's home.

Types

There are several types of grocery deliver businesses including national chains and local retailers. National companies, such as Netgrocer and Peapod, allow customers to choose from thousands of available items through their website. Customers pay for their order with a credit or debit card and the company mails the order to the customer from its nearest regional distribution center. The shipping method depends on whether there are perishable items in the order and is typically express or two-day. Smaller local and regional grocery delivery businesses will take their customers shopping list and go to the nearest grocery store and purchase the items. They will then deliver the order to the customer's house and sometimes can even put the groceries away. These businesses bill the customer directly. National businesses build the cost of the service into their prices while local companies doing businesses through a nearby supermarket will charge the customer the store prices in addition to a service and delivery charge.

Significance

For many people and families, grocery delivery business is the only way food shopping can be done amidst busy and hectic lifestyles. This is especially true in large cities where supermarkets are located in suburban areas and a trip to do grocery shopping can involve pushing carts along city sidewalks and using public transportation. Grocery delivery businesses have great significance for homebound and elderly people, who can use the service to get their groceries, a task that might otherwise be difficult or impossible. Also for those in rural areas, where large supermarkets are not available, grocery delivery businesses that ship orders can be an affordable alternatives to shopping in smaller markets and convenience stores.

Time Frame

The time between when an order is placed and when it is received depends on the business. For orders with national delivery businesses, an order can be received and processed the same day it is placed. It can then be shipped within 48 hours. For smaller businesses, an order received in the morning can be shopped for that afternoon and delivered in the evening. The exact time frame can vary greatly from business to business. Some businesses charge more for same-day or next-day service.

Considerations

When considering using a grocery deliver businesses consider that not all items are available for delivery, such a meat, produce or deli items. When you use one of these businesses it is difficult to have control over your preferences, such as the ripeness of fruit or the thickness of deli meat. This is especially true when you use a national chain, which typically will not have these items available for purchase. A local delivery business will shop for these items and over time can learn your preferences regarding food varieties.

Benefits

One of the biggest benefits of grocery deliver business is access to products, such an organic items, that might otherwise not be available to people because of their location. For example, greenling.com, is an online grocery delivery business that specializes in organic products, which typically are not widely available in smaller supermarkets and stores. Grocery delivery businesses also have a larger inventory of items for sale than grocery stores, which are limited by shelf space. Netgrocer advertises that it has more than 30,000 items available in its warehouse. That is more than double the inventory of a typical large grocery store. These grocery delivery businesses have more variety, such as more flavors of yogurt or more varieties of boxed foods.

Warning

Food items purchased through grocery delivery businesses typically have higher costs than when purchased by you at the neighborhood supermarket. This is either due to higher prices, which is the case with national businesses that ship the goods to you, or by service costs, which are added by companies that purchase the items at a nearby market and deliver them to your house.

For example, some items at peapod.com cost more than double the advertised price of Super Wal-Mart. Also shipping charges can be significant. A $200 grocery order through netgrocer.com would cost as much as $93 for shipping.

For local delivery companies, service charges can range from an hourly rate for shopping and delivery to a fixed rate based on the cost of your total purchase. When these costs are factored in, using a local delivery business is usually cheaper than a national one because the items are being purchased at the local supermarket, saving you the markup charged by the national grocery delivery business

Also grocery delivery businesses, particularly national chains that ship the items to you, do not accept manufacture coupons.

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