Canstar Blue’s 2020 online grocery shopping review compares IGA, Coles and Woolworths on their customer service, value for money, deals/specials, food freshness, product availability, 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, major 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. And as you’ll be aware, the availability of good online grocery shopping has taken on extra significance in recent times.
Over the past few years, loading up the virtual trolley has become the preferred method of shopping for many Aussie households, with 27% of respondents to our latest survey expecting to do most of their grocery shopping online going forward, and 18% already doing all of their grocery shopping this way. But as handy as online shopping can 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 one of Australia’s big 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?
It was the Independent Grocers of Australia (aka IGA)! The supermarket bumped consecutive winner Woolies off the top spot this year, after scoring five-star reviews all around. That’s quite some result for a retailer you probably wouldn’t think of as the obvious choice for home deliveries – until now maybe.
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Canstar Blue’s 2020 online grocery shopping review saw IGA outrank Woolworths and Coles for overall customer satisfaction and most other categories:
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 27% of survey respondents expect to do most of their grocery shopping online going forward, and 18% of all respondents currently doing so, it seems like the online supermarket place will become just as busy as your local store 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 saves you from standing in line at the checkout, it opens the door to different kinds of frustrations. We asked respondents to our survey about their greatest online shopping frustrations and found:
While 37% 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 many of us are creatures of habit, some 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 does not come free, with supermarkets charging different delivery costs.
IGA Shop Online has a minimum $80 spend per order and because all IGA stores are independently-owned, online delivery costs will vary between locations. Once you place your online grocery order, you’ll be directed to your closest participating store which will contact you directly to confirm your requirements, arrange your delivery and process your payment.
Woolworths outlines delivery costs on its website, 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 it’s only available in select areas. Here’s a quick overview of delivery costs for Woolworths Online:
|Shopping amount||Delivery fee|
|up to $99.99||$15|
|$100 – $149.99||$12|
|$150 – $199.99||$9|
|$200 – $249.99||$6|
|$250 – $299.99||$3|
General guide only, T&Cs apply
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. Here’s a quick overview of delivery costs for Coles Online:
|Delivery window||Delivery fee||Free over|
General guide only, T&Cs apply
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. IGA also has a Click & Collect service which allows you to shop your items via the website or IGA market app and pick them up in store. Every IGA store has a designated Click & Collect collection point at one of the registers. You’ll just need to present your ID or order number and your order will brought out to you.
While IGA, 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 the big supermarkets, 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 over a third of survey respondents (34%) 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 feed. 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 2,000 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.
*Information and prices retrieved from respective supermarket websites, correct as of October, 2020.
Photo Credits: 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 six 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, 2,045 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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