Supermarkets have remained open throughout lockdown, but they’re still a difficult space in which to social distance, so if you want to avoid crowds and close contact with others, an online shop is the safest way to get your groceries each week.
The panic buying that took place at the start of the coronavirus lockdown had many people scrambling for basic necessities like bread, eggs and pasta. And while the frantic stocking up of toilet paper seems to have subsided, it’s still painfully difficult to get your hands on the elusive online shopping delivery slot.
Here are a few tips for making your online shopping experience a little easier:
The government has been advising those who are able to go out to do their supermarket shopping in person, allowing those that are vulnerable or shielding to use online delivery options.
Therefore, if the government has asked you to shield, it’s important to communicate your vulnerable status to your supermarket of choice. Some retailers have already contacted customers that fall into the government’s vulnerable list, such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Asda.
If you haven’t been contacted, or your circumstances have changed, be sure to get in touch.
Placing your order and booking a delivery slot as soon as new slots are released will increase your chances of getting a delivery time you want. However, this one is slightly tricky, as not all supermarkets release their delivery slots at the same time.
For instance, Tesco has said that some stores add new slots to its website at midnight, whereas Ocado releases delivery slots for non-priority customers at 6 pm every day, while Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Asda say there is no specific time.
Though this is frustrating, it’s a good idea to try booking a slot at various different times of the day. And keep in mind that supermarkets are regularly increasing the number of slots available.
When shopping, be sure to do so on a safe and secure broadband connection. You don’t want to get halfway through the checkout process only to have your broadband connection drop out, making you start the whole process all over again.
If you have weak Wi-Fi in your home, or ADSL broadband that has been known to drop out, it’s best to avoid peak times as your internet service may struggle.
You could get a cheaper, faster, more reliable broadband deal in just a few minutes, and make shopping online quicker, easier and safer.
If a delivery slot isn’t available for a number of weeks, the next best thing could be to place a ‘click and collect’ order. Even though you’d still have to physically visit the supermarket, ‘click and collect’ options limit the amount of time you would have to spend there.
Tesco recently added 120,000 ‘click and collect’ delivery slots, meaning it could be significantly easier to book on than a home delivery slot.
If you still have no luck getting a delivery slot, it might be time to look to other food delivery services rather than just supermarkets. You can now order your groceries via platforms like Amazon, Deliveroo and UberEats for similar prices as supermarkets.
Amazon Fresh is an online partnership with both Morrisons and Boots, so you would still be able to purchase from their range of own-brand goods. The downside is that it’s an exclusive add-on service to Amazon Prime customers. You will need to order at least £15-worth of food for Amazon Pantry and at least £40 for Amazon Fresh.
It’s worth looking beyond larger supermarkets to lesser-known brands like Abel & Cole, Riverford Organic and Planet Organic. All of these retailers offer delivery of organic produce direct to your door, including household, meat, fish and pantry products.
In fact, now is also a great time to support local, independent shops who are also struggling to cope during the COVID-19 crisis. Check to see if any of your local supermarkets offer online deliveries; they’re likely to have greater availability and you’ll be supporting a small business during this difficult time.
Are you finding yourself online a lot more since the lockdown? It’s still important to take a break from your screens, even when there’s less to do outside. See how you can still have a digital detox while you’re stuck at home.