Groceries With A Click

By Megan Last edited 164 months ago
Groceries With A Click

Have you tried ordering your groceries online? How does it work?

Is it cheaper?

Buying groceries online is convenient but not perfect. Shopping with the four major supermarkets (Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, and Waitrose through their online partner Ocado) is easy: Register for an account, select your items, supply credit card details. You can buy everything you would in person, even produce. The order is then assembled in your nearest store by a "personal shopper", and the prices are the same as they are there. So buying online is not generally cheaper, and including the small delivery fee it could even cost more.

But the biggest drawback is that if your store is out of a product, your personal shopper will substitute the next best thing. So you could end up with Tesco-brand spaghetti sauce when you wanted Loyd Grossman. The delivery person will point out changes to your order, and you are free to decline them, but of course this may mean a trip to the shops in person to make up for it. Returns are also usually handled in person at your nearest supermarket. The retailers try to match your preferences as much as possible by providing a space for you to make notes on each item ("Greenish bananas, please."). But obviously this is no failsafe.

Having said that, we do know people who swear by online groceries —especially flatmates who share shopping responsibilities and families with small children. We think it’s a good way to stock up on non-perishables while buying your fruit and veg in person. It could also help your budget by reducing your number of trips to the supermarket. No longer will you pop in to Sainsbury’s for a loaf of bread and also accidentally buy a tub of Haagen-Dazs and the Jacob’s Creek special. Some supermarkets have a minimum order of £25, others have a limited delivery area, so visit their web sites to decide which is right for you.

For fresh food you could also try a smaller web site, like or, which claim higher standards and more individual attention.

Last Updated 21 July 2005