Compare Aussie Farmers Direct, Coles and Woolworths to find the best online grocery shopping website for your needs. They have been reviewed on customer service, delivery reliability, deals available, product availability, variety of products, food freshness, website navigation, value for money and overall customer satisfaction in 2017.
Buying your groceries online is becoming a bit of a no-brainer. You can conveniently browse the supermarket shelves without having to leave the comfort of your home, while easily comparing prices on various websites with just a few clicks of your mouse. Why run the gauntlet of packed car parks, busy aisles and checkout queues when you don’t need to? As long as you can rely on your online grocery store to offer good deals, deliver what you actually ordered, bring you fresh produce and arrive on time, shopping online makes perfect sense. But are our grocery shopping chains delivering the goods? Canstar Blue’s annual review aims to find out.
We’ve canvassed the opinions of more than 1,200 online grocery shoppers in Australia to form our 2017 customer ratings. Stores have been compared on their variety of products, availability of products, deals available, delivery reliability, freshness of food, website navigation, customer service, value for money and overall satisfaction. Each retailer scored favourably in one or more areas, but only Coles achieved a five-star review for overall satisfaction.
The outcome is particularly impressive for Coles, improving on its four-star overall review from 2016. It has also been a good year for Aussie Farmers Direct, climbing from three stars last year to four stars in 2017. Woolworths has slipped from four to three stars overall.
The survey identified customer service as being a key driver of overall satisfaction, which makes sense considering you could end up inviting a delivery man or woman into your home. Beyond service, delivery reliability is naturally crucial. But just like shopping in a physical supermarket, online grocery shoppers have high expectations across the board. Product variety, availability, special deals and food freshness all play a part in shaping our positive or negative experiences of grocery shopping online. It only takes one of these elements to disappoint and another store is just a few clicks away.
This year’s survey found that:
The appeal of grocery shopping online is obvious. But aside from the simple convenience of it, six out of ten shoppers (61%) also report spending less online than they usually do in-store. Our research has found that customers who visit a physical supermarket spend an average of $136 a week on groceries, compared with an average of $131 reported by those who shop online. That isn’t a huge difference, but the online figure also includes delivery costs. That brings us nicely to the next point, about online shopping frustrations.
We asked survey respondents about their biggest frustrations with online grocery shopping and there was a clear winner:
It’s hard to imagine a time when online grocery shopping will be perfect, simply because of the number of variables that can impact and damage the customer experience. But consumers are not afraid to vote with their fingers, with more than a third of respondents (36%) saying they’ve switched online grocery allegiances. The same number (36%) reported using a different grocery chain for online shopping than they would usually visit in person.
Grocery delivery costs can vary significantly between retailers, depending on your location, and even depending on the day – and time of day – that you want your groceries delivered. Here is a guide to delivery costs for Aussie Farmers Direct, Coles and Woolworths.
Coles says that most metro delivery fees range between $4 and $18, depending on factors such as location, time of day and the length of delivery window chosen. However, Coles also offers a number of options for customers to get free delivery, including free delivery on your first order (provided you spend more than $100) and if you’re flexible with your delivery time. Coles credit card holders can also get free delivery if they spend more than $100 and use their card to pay. Check the Coles website for more information and customer service opening hours.
Woolworths says delivery costs vary from $3 to $11, depending on how much customers spend, although all orders of more than $300 come with free delivery. Woolworths additionally offers customers the chance to reduce costs with its ‘Deliver Saver’ pass. You can pick a ‘Midweek’ or ‘Anyday’ pass (relating to the day your orders will arrive) and receive unlimited home deliveries on orders costing more than $100 during the selected time period. See the Woolworths website for specific details and customer contact information.
Aussie Farmers Direct says delivery days and times vary depending on location, however costs remain consistent at $2 for orders under $25. Orders over this amount come with free delivery. To keep your fresh produce fresh, customers will be given an esky with their first order and can leave it outside their home to be stocked with goods for their following orders. Visit the Aussie Farmers Direct website to learn more about the delivery process.
In addition to home deliveries, some retailers give customers the option to buy groceries online and collect their items from a store, or other location, at a later time – cutting out the hassle of walking around the supermarket. Click & Collect is available at selected Coles supermarkets, as well as from refrigerated lockers located at Coles Express outlets, while Woolworths also has a collection service called Pick Up whereby customers can place their orders through the Woolies app and receive a notification when their items are ready to be collected.
While Aussie Farmers Direct, Coles and Woolworths received the minimum number of survey responses to be included in this year’s review, it’s worth knowing that there are many other retailers offering online grocery deliveries. They include:
Other websites, such as Hello Fresh, offer a slightly different proposing whereby you can order ‘meal kits’ rather than just basic grocery items.
As noted above, delivery timing is a significant cause of frustration for online grocery shoppers. However, it seems the supermarkets are experimenting with ways to help reduce delivery times and give customers greater certainty over when their items will be delivered. Coles has teamed up with both Uber and Deliveroo in recent months to trial speedy deliveries in some areas, with delivery times of around 30 minutes seemingly the ambition. Watch this space!
ALDI does not provide home grocery deliveries, but there are groups that offer to visit an ALDI supermarket for you, buy the groceries you want, and deliver your items right to your door. It’s also worth noting that ALDI has just launched its own grocery delivery service in the U.S. so who knows?
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 delivery driver knocks at your front door and hands over your groceries. That’s why our customer review provides a helpful insight, as our ratings reflect the real-world experiences of more than 1,200 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 extra. But keep a close eye on charges, as the more you pay for deliveries, the less benefit there is shopping online.
Canstar Blue commissioned Colmar Brunton to survey 6,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have bought groceries online (excluding alcohol) in the last 6 months – in this case, 1,246 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 alphabetically. 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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