The ins and outs of online grocery shopping

By Staff Writer
The convenience of online shopping has taken South Africa by storm, with everything from clothing items, furniture and groceries are available at the click of a button, swipe of a card and before you know it, it’s on your doorstep.

With increasingly more stores in South Africa having caught on to the online shopping craze, Justmoney looks at the two major supermarket online shopping services, namely Woolworths and Pick n Pay, and how they compare.

How does the online shopping process work?

Woolworths boasts a clean and user friendly online service that involves you merely scanning through items available on a listings page and then ‘adding to cart’; which is the selection and collection of items you want to buy.

You are then required to select your delivery location and once you’ve done that you will be routed back to the listings page and the process begins again.

“To make shopping even easier, you can create shopping lists for products that you buy regularly. Create a new list by going to your account dashboard and clicking on 'Shopping Lists' in the menu. On this page you will see an option to create a new list. You can then add a product to a list while browsing any of the departments.

“You can also add items to your Favourites list. These are products that you like but do not want to purchase immediately - this allows you to save items for later. You can do this by hovering over a product and clicking on the heart icon,” stated Woolworths.

Following the selection of your groceries you then have the option to ‘Check-out’, here you will be routed to a page that prompts you for your account details, and allows you to register your account online if you are a new user.

Once you have made your online card payment, all you have to do is sit back and wait for your delivery.

‘We do not have a pick-up option available yet. This will be delivered in the near future as we continue to extend our offering of convenience shopping,” added a spokesperson from Woolworths.

Similarly, Pick n Pay offers consumers a convenient way to save time by placing orders from the comfort of their homes and having their food delivered directly to them.

Customers can either search or browse the website for their products using the convenient category navigation. The use of personalised shopping lists also adds to the speed of their shop allowing customers to simply add all the contents to their trolley quickly and easily.

“In order to shop on the Pick n Pay online site you have to register and then you can begin shopping, you can also register your Smart Shopper card and earn Smart Shopper points on your online shop. Once you have chosen your products you proceed to the checkout screen,” explained Michael Cotterell head of online shopping at Pick n Pay.

Consumers are also given the option to make use of the ‘click n collect’ facility that allows them to select a specific store, place their order , have the items shopped for them and upon arrival at the store their items are ready for collection.

How does the delivery process work?
The convenience of online shopping is that it saves you a trip to the store, lugging kids and a trolley through busy aisles.

With Woolworths the delivery process “depends on the contents of your order and your delivery location. In general, all food items are available for next-day delivery. All clothing, home ware and beauty items are delivered in three to five days. If your order includes both food and non-food items, you can choose to have your order delivered all together, or have your food items delivered earlier if you wish.”

Pick n Pay also prides themselves on next day delivery, as consumer are able to “book a delivery slot and proceed to make payment. The website offers convenient one hour delivery slots, so the customer can choose the time slot that suits them. The cut off for next day delivery of orders is generally noon the day before,” highlighted Cotterell.

What are the delivery costs?
Unfortunately convenience usually has a price and with the option of delivery to doorstep this instance is no different.

At Woolworths the cost of delivery is determined by your delivery address and the specific items that you have ordered. In general, delivery fees are between R50 and R95 and black card holders get free delivery.

With Pick n Pay costs are also kept to a minimum, as there are no other charges or fees when shopping online with Pick n Pay.
(Pick n Pay had not responded to requests for the cost of delivery at the time of publication.)

Is there a difference between the prices of goods online and in store?
“There is no difference between the prices on our website and the prices in-store.  Any regional pricing differences are applied to the same locations online,” advised Woolworths.

“The Pick n Pay online shopping site offers products at the same price as in store, with the caveat that a price may change between the order date and the delivery date (this is a standard term and condition of most online shopping sites). Customers are advised to login first to see pricing specific to their region based on their delivery address,” explained Cotterell.

Protecting consumer’s payment particulars
With card skimming and other online fraudulent activities, the security of bank information is always a concern.

According to Cotterell, “all payments are done through a trustedthird party credit card processor, we don’t store our customers’ banking details on our site.”

Woolworths too has “implemented reasonable security safeguards to protect the personal information that you provide. For example, sensitive data (such as your credit card information) is protected by SSL encryption when it is exchanged between your web browser and our website.  We regularly monitor our systems for possible vulnerabilities and attacks.

“The Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) is aimed at protecting your personal information and prescribes what we must and must not do with it. POPI created an Information Regulator who checks that companies like Woolworths manage personal information in a responsible manner that respects your privacy,” explained Woolworths.

Despite online sales having only accounted for a relatively small portion of Woolworths business, “we believe that South Africans will become more enthusiastic online shoppers as bandwidth connections become cheaper and faster, and customers become more comfortable with online and mobile shopping.”

Pick n Pay customers have also shown themselves to be tech savvy, as there is a demand for online shopping and it continues to show strong growth, highlighted Cotterell.

Both stores are constantly improving their online offerings as they aim to expand the products available and better the facility to create for a more user friendly and rewarding shopping experience, stated both Pick n Pay and Woolworths.

So whether you’re a Woolies or Pick n Pay shopper, register today and save yourself the time spent shopping to focus on the more important aspects of the festive season. 

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