Ordering your groceries online is a great way to monitor your spending and avoid the crowds of grocery stores. It’s also a great way to avoid impulse purchases.
Fortunately, grocery delivery services are increasing in popularity, which means you have more choices now than ever.
In this article, I’ll explain how grocery delivery works and highlight six of the best online grocery delivery services to help you determine which one is the best option for you.
I took a close look at each company to see how much it costs to have your groceries delivered, whether or not you need a membership and how soon you can get your order.
5 Things to Know About Grocery Delivery
The cost and process for having your groceries delivered varies depending on the company you order from. Here are a few things to know before choosing your delivery service and ordering your groceries:
- Some grocery delivery services, like Amazon Prime Now and Shipt, require memberships with monthly or annual fees to get started. Other companies offer optional memberships for frequent shoppers to take advantage of free delivery.
- Without a membership, you can expect to pay a per-delivery fee of around $8-$10. In addition to shipping, some companies also charge a small service fee.
- For individual products, you may see price markups set by the retailer when shopping through Instacart or Shipt. Direct retailers with grocery delivery services like Walmart and Kroger are more likely to offer the same in-store pricing.
- When it comes to actually placing your order, most of the grocery delivery services below can be accessed online or through an app on your iOS or Android device.
- Once you’ve signed in or indicated where you’ll need your groceries delivered, you’ll be able to select products to order, keep track of what’s in your cart and watch your running total. You’ll also be able to apply digital coupons, search for sales and price compare while you’re shopping.
The Best Online Grocery Delivery Services
Whether you’re brand-loyal or deal-loyal, ordering your groceries online is a great way to save time and prevent impulse buys. Below, we’ve highlighted six of the best online grocery delivery services.
- Best for Amazon customers: Amazon Prime Now
- Best for Costco members: Instacart
- Best for Kroger customers: Kroger Delivery
- Best for Stop & Shop customers: Peapod
- Best for Target customers: Shipt
- Best for Walmart customers: Walmart Delivery
Before deciding where to place your order, make sure you’re aware of the delivery service’s minimum order requirements, delivery fees and membership options.
Delivery fees may vary per order depending on the total amount and designated time frame. Below, you’ll find more detailed information on what to expect when ordering groceries from any of these companies.
Minimum Amount: None
Delivery: Free for eligible purchases
Amazon offers two food delivery services: Prime Now and Amazon Fresh. Both services are offered for free exclusively to Amazon Prime members. The key difference is that Amazon Fresh exclusively deals in food while Prime Now includes a variety of products. You can also expect Prime Now deliveries the same day.
According to Amazon, Prime Now offers three delivery options based on your location: a 2-hour delivery window, a 1-hour delivery window and delivery within an hour.
If your order contains at least $35 worth of eligible products (including groceries) you can receive free 2-hour delivery. For faster delivery or local store products, some additional fees and markups may apply.
If local stores are available in your city, you’ll see them listed in the app and on the website. For example, Prime members are eligible for additional savings at Whole Foods Market in select locations. Standard substitutions are available for out-of-stock items. If your product was substituted with a less expensive product, you’ll be charged for the cheaper of the two.
You can find more information about Amazon Prime Now online.
Minimum Amount: $10
Delivery: Cost varies depending on your order size and delivery window.
Instacart connects you with shoppers in your area to pick up local groceries for you. Instead of shopping by product, you’ll choose a store in your area and shop from that store’s inventory.
The pricing you’ll see for products on the app is set by the retailers. While many are the same as in-store prices, you may notice a slight markup on others. The amount of the additional costs varies based on the size of your order and the designated delivery window. Typically, the standard delivery fee is $3.99 and the service fee is 5% of your order total.
These additional charges can be avoided with Instacart Express. The premium membership costs $99 annually or $9.99 monthly after a 14-day free trial. With it, you’ll receive unlimited free deliveries on all orders meeting the $35 minimum requirement. You’ll also be able to order from multiple nearby stores with no additional charge and waive busy-pricing fees.
Instacart also offers the option to refund out-of-stock items or replace them with the next best match. You can manage this preference in your account before placing your order.
Minimum Amount: None
Delivery: $9.95; Free for orders over $35
Membership: Optional Kroger Shopper’s Card
Kroger offers grocery delivery to your door within hours. The standard delivery fee is $9.95, but you can get free shipping on orders over $35 placed 1-3 days ahead of time. According to Kroger’s delivery terms, the delivery fee may vary based on your location, the service making the delivery and the time of your scheduled delivery.
If an item that you’ve ordered is unavailable in the store, you can allow substitutions to receive an appropriate alternative. If you aren’t satisfied with the substituted product, you can return it to the store.
You won’t have to pay for a membership to participate in Kroger grocery delivery, though you may need to create a free online account. If you do have a Kroger Shopper’s Card, be sure to sign in using that account’s information to get the most discounts and fuel points for your purchase.
Minimum Amount: $60
Delivery: $7.95 – $9.95
Peapod by Giant is another great online grocery delivery service. It’s operated by the same owner as Stop & Shop, Food Lion and Giant-Landover, which means shoppers that frequent those stores will find familiar brands and pricing. You can shop online or with the Peapod app to have orders delivered as soon as the same day in select areas.
There’s no monthly or annual membership fee required for Peapod grocery delivery. Instead, the delivery fee varies based on the total price of your order. According to Peapod’s FAQ page, here are the delivery fees according to price range:
|Order Total:||Delivery Fee:|
Peapod does offer the optional PodPass for $99 annually, $69 every 6 months or $13 every month. The premium membership provides a $7.95 delivery fee credit to each of your orders, which essentially ensures free delivery (or at least a maximum delivery charge of $2).
Standard substitutions are available for most products in the case that your original selections are out of stock. You can indicate whether or not you want to allow substitutions for any or all products in your account before placing your order.
Minimum Amount: None
Delivery: $7; Free on orders over $35
Shipt offers same-day delivery as soon as one hour from stores in your area. To get started, you’ll have to choose a membership plan. The options include an annual plan for $99 (which works out to $8.25/month) or a monthly plan for $14. You can begin with a 4-week free trial.
Once you’ve signed up for a membership, you can begin shopping online or with an app on your iOS or Android device. Choose from local stores and you’ll be connected with a Shipt shopper to pick up your groceries and bring them to you. With your membership, orders over $35 are eligible for free delivery. For an order that costs less, you can expect a delivery fee of about $7.
The company also prides itself on a lack of hidden fees. According to Shipt, “A small markup may be added to some items to cover the cost of handpicking each one with care, but that’s included in the price you see in the app.”
When it comes to substitutions, you can manage your preferences in your Shipt account online. If you do allow substitutions, you can sign up to receive texts from your shopper with information on the out-of-stock and next best product.
Minimum Amount: $30
Delivery Fee: $7.95 – $9.95
Walmart grocery delivery is the service that I’ve used the most myself in the past. I’ve always had a great experience with the website, allowing substitutions and correcting mistakes.
If you’re using the website to place your order, you’ll have a running list of items in your cart on the right side of the screen. This makes it easy to stay under budget and keep track of what you’re purchasing. Once you’ve built your list, you can reserve a time slot for your delivery the same day as your order or for sometime later in the week.
Recently, Walmart launched Delivery Unlimited in select areas. If you’re eligible, you can sign up for a $12.95 monthly membership or a $98 annual membership and avoid the per-order fee. For customers that order more than once per month, this could be a great way to save over time!
For products that you aren’t brand-loyal to, consider allowing substitutions. If any items are substituted, you’ll be charged for the lowest price.
For more ways to save, check out these 7 things to know before ordering with Walmart’s free grocery pickup service.
While it may seem like the delivery fees or membership fees add up, you still have the potential to cut down on your spending at the grocery store by having your food delivered.
You’ll be less tempted to grab unnecessary products that you would otherwise be walking past. Shopping online also makes it much easier to track your spending and price-compare instantly in a second window.
Again, just be sure to familiarize yourself with a grocery delivery service’s minimum order amounts, delivery fees, substitution policies and membership requirements before placing your first order. Finally, consider ordering your groceries online and picking them up at the store for even more savings.
Do you have your groceries delivered? Let us know where you order from in the comments below!