With Canadian e-commerce spending rising 46.9 per cent over the past year*, Canadians are buying more goods and services online than ever before, including groceries. As families settle into regular life with the start of a new school year, BBB says it pays for parents to study up on the ins-and-outs of online grocery shopping.
"The option of online grocery shopping can be a great time-saver for busy families on-the-go," says Mary O'Sullivan-Andersen, president and CEO of BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay. "Just as with any online financial purchase, you want to make sure you do your homework beforehand to ensure you're making safe, and worthwhile spending decisions."
Which stores offer online-grocery shopping?
- Walmart Canada
- Loblaw stores including Wholesale Club
- Other retailers
BBB says be a savvy online grocery-shopper with these Top 10 questions:
- Does the store offer delivery? Some grocery stores only offer in-store pick-up of online orders, whereas some also offer home delivery services. Be sure to check the costs of each option.
- Can coupons be added to the order? While each store is different, some will allow shoppers to apply coupons to your order at the time of pick-up, but be sure to specify that you wish to do so.
- How is produce, meat, bread and other fresh food selected? While stores work hard to ensure top-quality and freshness, be sure to ask when your order will be prepared. Most stores will wait until the day your order is to be picked-up or delivered to fill the order so that fresh food can be properly stored in the meantime.
- What are order substitutions? In case your preferred brand or type of food isn't available, some stores will allow the option for consumers to list their preferred product substitutions along with detailed instructions for the personal shopper responsible for filling the order.
- Paper or plastic? Some stores use plastic bags, some use paper, while others encourage shoppers to come prepared with their own re-usable tote bags. If you want to use your own re-usable bags for an in-store pick-up, check with the store beforehand to see if they can accommodate your request.
- Is there a minimum order value? Some stores only offer online grocery shopping on orders of $30 or more. Check with the store before placing an order to see what their policy is.
- Do you need to create an online account? In most cases, consumers can browse through the product selection without creating an account, but if you wish to place an order you will need to register or create a new online account on the store's official website. Doing so is usually free, and will allow you to save your credit card information for future purchases and track your order history.
- How and when do you pay? Ask the store if you are required to pre-pay for your order online or if you can pay at time of pick-up or delivery, and what methods of payment they accept.
- What are the return, cancellation and change policies? If you forget to include an item in your order, or later change your mind and want to remove an item from your order, or cancel your order completely, you can usually do so up to one day prior to your pick-up date and time. However, policies may differ for home delivery, so be sure to clarify with the store beforehand.
Each store will have different return policies as to when you can return an item for a full refund or store credit, with proof of purchase. Some stores may also require the item to be returned in its full packaging. Be sure to ask for clarification before placing your order.
- What are "price estimations?" This applies to items purchased in bulk or measured by weight, such as produce. You will be given a price estimation while shopping online, but each item will be properly weighed at the time your order is filled, with the correct and accurate price showing on your receipt.
For more tips you can trust, visit bbb.org.
Leah Brownridge, Media and Corporate Communications Specialist
Better Business Bureau Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 167 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local,independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay, which was founded in 1954 and garners more than one million instances of service annually.
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