Improving delivery of online purchases via online grocery shopping slots

Online shopping is a wonderful thing. So convenient to be able to shop wherever and whenever you want, and have your selected items delivered directly to your door. This is all fine and dandy, but problems come with having items delivered directly to your door. It is often difficult to know exactly when those items are going to turn up. You can sometimes choose to pay some high fee to have “next day” delivery. But often you are at the mercy of the delivery service that the online shop has chosen. Although many send out a dispatch email with an estimated delivery, this isn’t always accurate. The better companies also supply a tracking number so you can make a better guess at what the delivery date will be and arrange to be present for the delivery. Typically though, the window for deliveries is from 7am to 6pm or sometimes later, forcing you to wait at home all day until the package arrives. Or even fail to, as was recent experience with City Link. Some delivery services provide you with a smaller window, even down to a specific hour. Although this is very rare, and you can’t pick that specific hour, but at least you can plan your day around it.

So, what’s my point? Well buying stuff off the internet is not really convenient at all when you have to plan your life around the deliveries and short notice. Or spend time and money on getting to the distribution centres to pick up your missed package, or alternatively have a delivery person leave your package in the rain, in full view on the doorstep, in a rubbish bin, or posted through a high window onto a hard floor (I’ve experienced all of these).

Online grocery shopping is a different experience. Before you even start making your shopping selections, you typically choose a specific delivery slot. Slots are for a specific date and usually a time window of one to two hours. So if I was to book myself a regular weekly slot for my shopping, I would be delighted to also have my parcels delivered during that same slot. It is unusual that I’m that concerned over when something I’ve ordered online turns up. If I need it now, then I’m happy to pay for next day delivery, but usually I don’t need it straight away.

I think a trick is being missed here by the supermarkets. Given they are staffed 24 hours a day and have warehousing facilities, wouldn’t it be great if they could receive your parcels and delivery them with your weekly shopping? I’m not sure about most people, but I usually choose the same supermarket to do my food shopping from if I do it online, and having some way to choose to have it delivered via your preferred grocery provider would be great. I’m sure this would also save on costs for the delivery companies, because they would be delivering to a distribution centre, rather than pottering around in housing estates trying to deliver to people who aren’t in, because they didn’t expect the parcel or because they work during the day like most people do!

And I’d be happy because I would know that my parcels were going to get to me when I’ve already arranged to be at home!

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2 thoughts on “Improving delivery of online purchases via online grocery shopping slots

  1. It’s interesting how companies that started off in totally different sectors (in this case food and postal services) find themselves in direct competition due to common infrastructure requirements.

    Usually, due to the different focus of each organisation, it’s only after the fact that someone (often not in either organisation) notices.

    Nice catch.

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