Shipt 101: 5 things to know about the Target-owned grocery delivery service

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Shipt 101: 5 things to know about the Target-owned grocery delivery service
Image Credit: Shipt
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From Instacart to AmazonFresh, there are a growing number of companies that will deliver groceries to your front door.

Another option that’s getting a lot of attention lately is Shipt. The grocery delivery service started in 2014 in Birmingham, Alabama, but it was acquired by Target last December for $550 million — and big changes are coming.

I decided to sign up for a two-week free trial of Shipt and have a few tips if you’re thinking about it.

RELATED: 7 things I learned while using my Instant Pot for 14 days straight

Shipt grocery delivery: Signing up, ordering, prices and more

Before I share more details about my experience, there are some key things you should know about how Shipt operates before placing an order:

  1. Two membership options: $99/year or $14/month (Deal alert: $49 for the first year through 2/26!)
  2. In addition to Target, ABC Fine Wine and Spirits, Central Market, Fry’s, Harris Teeter, H-E-B, Kroger, Meijer, Publix and Western are supported
  3. Shop through the Shipt app or website and get your groceries as soon as one hour after placing an order
  4. Delivery is free on orders over $35, but there’s a flat $7 delivery fee for small orders and alcohol orders from select retailers
  5. Prices “vary slightly” from in-store prices to help cover the costs of picking, packing and processing

My first experience with Shipt 

When I opened my front door to look outside on a rainy Saturday morning, I decided that it was the perfect weekend to stay off the roads and let someone else do the grocery shopping for me.

I signed up for a free two-week trial of Shipt and opened the app right away. The first thing you’ll want to do is select a store. In my area, the options are Target, Publix and Kroger — I chose the latter.

Keep reading for my price comparison of the in-app versus in-store pricing…

Shipt app
Shipt app

Next, I checked to see if the available delivery time would work for me (you have to be home to receive your groceries) and started adding items to my shopping cart.

You can browse by category — meat, dairy, produce — or type items into the search bar.

Click "On sale" for special deals
Click “On sale” for special deals

According to the FAQ page on Shipt’s website, “Most of the 40,000+ items in the store are available in the app.” Custom requests can be made for items that don’t show up using the search feature.

Since prices are typically higher with the app, I paid special attention to the products in the “On Sale” category.

After finishing my shopping, I entered my credit card information, confirmed the delivery time and placed the order. I received texts from my Shipt shopper with updates on my order.

In addition, he helped find a substitution when an item I selected wasn’t available.

You can receive texts from your Shipt shopper
You can receive texts from your Shipt shopper

My personal shopper brought the groceries to my door within the one-hour delivery window. Tips aren’t required with Shipt, but I left him a tip within the app.

Important note: Shipt says that 100% of tips go directly to the shopper!

Shipt price comparison 

Exactly how much more did I pay for the convenience of having my groceries delivered? That’s what I wanted to find out.

On the same day of my Shipt delivery (after the rain stopped), I drove to my local Kroger and bought the exact same 15 items that I purchased through Shipt.

Here’s a side-by-side price comparison:

Shipt price In-store price
Liquid egg whites $5.99  $5.49
Seltzer water $2.99  $2.49
Vegetable broth $1.59  $1.29
Hummus $2.89  $2.50
Tofu $2.19  $1.99
Frozen vegetables $1.19  $1.00
Blackeye peas $2.39 $1.99
Salad in a bag $1.99  $0.89
Bananas $0.78  $0.38
Wheat bread $2.89  $2.49
Greek yogurt $3.49  $2.99
Blackberries $2.99  $2.50
Grape tomatoes $1.79  $1.99
Almond milk $2.89  $2.50
Cheese $4.19  $3.49
Tax $0.60 $1.36
Total  $40.84  $35.34

The $5.50 price difference is pretty much what I expected. Shipt’s website says “Our members can expect to pay about $5 more using Shipt than they would on a $35 order purchased in the store themselves.”

Keep in mind, the total is before I added the tip, plus you have to factor in the annual or monthly membership fee.

Is Shipt a good value? That’s for you to decide. If you can spend the time you save by using Shipt to be more productive around the house — or make more money — then you may be able to easily justify the cost.

These grocery delivery services are also a convenient option for people who have difficulty leaving the house for health reasons.

Shipt app order vs. Kroger in-store order
Shipt app order vs. shopping myself

Find out if Shipt is available where you live 

Right now, Target is working to rapidly expand Shipt to more locations. By the end of 2019, it plans to offer same-day delivery that will include all major product categories at Target — not just groceries and essentials.

If Shipt isn’t available in your area yet, you can sign up for an email alert to get notified when it launches.

More Clark.com retail coverage: 

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Michael Timmermann paid off his mortgage in two years. Now, he shares his money-saving tips on his blog, Save on Almost Everything.
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