Canstar Blue’s 2019 review of online grocery shopping compares Coles & Woolworths on their value for money, customer service, deals/specials, food freshness, availability of products, delivery/pick-up reliability, website navigation and overall satisfaction.
The grocery shop usually keeps the household running smoothly, but actually doing the shopping can be quite the mission, with packed car parks, narrow aisles and screaming kids easily turning what should be a simple outing into a frustrating ordeal. Thankfully, the big supermarkets are turning to online delivery as a means to not only ease congestion at the checkouts, but give busy customers an easier way to stock up on the essentials.
Over the past few years, loading up the virtual trolley has become the preferred method of shopping for many Aussie households, with 26% of online grocery shoppers in our 2019 survey expecting to do most of their supermarket shopping online going forward, although only 9% currently do all of their grocery shopping this way. But as handy as online shopping might be, it’s still not perfect. The fact is that when you give someone else the responsibility of doing your shopping for you, you may not get exactly what you wanted. Include delivery times, service and costs, and suddenly you might wish you went to the supermarket yourself.
So, which of Australia’s two biggest supermarket chains is rated highest by consumers when it comes to all of these important factors, including things like website navigation, special deals and food freshness? For the second year in a row, Woolworths has proved the supermarket chain to beat for online grocery shopping satisfaction.
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Canstar Blue’s 2019 online grocery shopping review saw Woolworths outrank Coles for overall customer satisfaction, although both chains scored multiple five-star ratings across the board:
However, both chains only recorded four stars when it comes to the availability of products and value for money.
There are plenty of benefits to shopping online, but to gain a clearer idea as to why so many households are filling a virtual shopping trolley rather than a real one, we asked survey respondents what their main reason for shopping online is, with their answers listed below:
Considering that 26% of survey respondents expect to do most of their grocery shopping online going forward, and 9% of all respondents currently doing all of their grocery shopping online, it seems like the online market place will become just as busy as your local supermarket in the near future, although you won’t have to deal with people leaving their trolleys in the middle of the aisle!
While shopping online can save you from standing in line at the checkout, it also opens the door to different kinds of frustrations. We asked respondents to our survey to reveal their greatest online shopping frustrations and found:
While 36% of survey respondents always use the same supermarket chain for online grocery shopping, 12% have tried one online supermarket but then switched to another, and 10% use a different chain for online shopping than they would normally visit in store, meaning that while some of us are creatures of habit, some of us aren’t scared of shopping around for the best deal or service.
While it’s a useful service, especially if you run a busy household, getting your groceries delivered to your door unfortunately doesn’t come free, with the supermarkets charging different delivery costs.
Woolworths outlines delivery costs on its website, with costs ranging from $3 up to $15, depending on the size of your order, with the more you spend, the less you pay for delivery. Orders under $100 will incur a $15 delivery charge, while shops over $300 will get free delivery, although there are some T&Cs attached, so be sure to read the fine print. The supermarket giant additionally offers customers the chance to get their groceries in under two hours with Delivery Now, although you’ll have to keep your order under 30 items, and is only available in select areas. See the Woolworths website for all the specific details and customer contact information.
Coles clearly outlines delivery and collection costs on the FAQs section on its website, with charges dependent on your location, the time of day, and length of delivery window chosen. Metro delivery fees will generally range between $4 and $20, but there are a few ways to save, including free delivery on your first shop should you spend more than $100. Check the Coles website for more information and customer service opening hours.
In addition to home deliveries, some retailers will give customers the option to buy groceries online and collect their items from the store, or another location, at a later time – cutting out the need to walk up and down the aisles yourself.
Click & Collect is available at select Coles supermarkets, plus refrigerated lockers located at Coles Express outlets. Woolworths also has a collection service called Pick Up whereby customers can place their orders through the Woolies shopping app and receive a notification when the items are ready to be collected. Some Woolworths locations even offer a Drive Thru service, meaning you don’t even have to step out of the car, taking the footwork out of the shopping.
While Coles and Woolworths are at the forefront of online grocery shopping, there are other retailers available, including:
Even if you’re satisfied with the service you receive from Coles or Woolworths, it’s worth keeping these other retailers in mind.
There doesn’t seem to be much that ALDI can’t do, with the German supermarket chain the go-to choice for plenty of households. However, ALDI does not currently offer home delivery for groceries, although 37% of survey respondents said they would shop online with ALDI if it was an option, so there seems to be plenty of appetite for it.
Grocery shopping can be a time-consuming outing for many households, particularly if you have plenty of mouths to shop for. Thankfully, online grocery shopping can take the stress out of filling your trolley, as well as ensure that no extra goodies sneakily find their way to the checkout.
Ultimately, whichever online grocery service you decide to use should be based on your circumstances, as one supermarket may be closer to you, or you may prefer to rack up your rewards points. Regardless of where your supermarket allegiances may lie, it’s always best to look into all your options, as you may be able to find a more convenient service to fit your busy lifestyle, or find a cheaper option.
The beauty of shopping online is that it’s easy to shop around and compare products and prices from different websites. However, you will only really know how good an online delivery service is when the driver knocks at your front door and hands over your groceries. That’s why our annual customer review provides a helpful insight as our ratings reflect the real-world experiences of more than 1,500 customers just like you.
When you can, it’s a good idea to take advantage of free deliveries to give the retailer a test run before you have to pay. But keep an eye on delivery charges, because the more you pay, the less benefit there is from shopping online.
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s Home & Lifestyle Content Lead, Megan Birot. She’s an expert on household appliances, health & beauty products, as well as all things grocery and shopping. When she’s not writing up our research-based ratings reports, Megan spends her time helping consumers make better purchase decisions, whether it’s at the supermarket, other retailers, or online, highlighting the best deals and flagging anything you need to be aware of.
Photo Credits: SpeedKingz/shutterstock.com, fizkes/shutterstock.com, Tero Vesalainen/shutterstock.com Ken Wolter/shutterstock.com, Georgejmclittle/shutterstock.com
Canstar Blue surveyed 6,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have ordered groceries online (excluding alcohol) in the last 6 months (Note: this includes services that deliver portioned ingredients with recipes, and refers to groceries home delivered, as well as those that you order online and pick-up in store) – in this case, 1,555 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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