Walmart free grocery pickup: 7 things to know before your first order

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Walmart free grocery pickup: 7 things to know before your first order
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Walmart is one of several major food retailers that now lets customers order groceries online and pick them up for free without ever stepping one foot inside the store.

Grocery pickup services from Walmart and others are becoming a lifesaver for busy Americans who want to save time and money.

RELATED: The best grocery stores in America

My first experience with Walmart Grocery’s free pickup service

Whether you’re a parent trying to avoid the “Can I get a toy?” conversation or a single person who would rather not leave the car during a downpour, you can see how this service can be a huge convenience.

I gave Walmart Grocery a try to find out if it’s as good as it sounds. Let me walk you through how it went…

1. Reserve a time and start shopping!

To get started with Walmart Grocery, I signed in to my account at https://grocery.walmart.com. You can also download the Walmart Grocery app, which is separate from the Walmart app.

From there, I selected my local Walmart store and reserved a one-hour pickup time. There were options from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The shopping process doesn’t require much explanation. I added a variety of groceries and household staples to my cart to meet the $30 order minimum for free grocery pickup.

I think Walmart’s search feature is easier to use compared to Target, so I was able to quickly add items to my cart.

2. Pricing policy

You might expect that Walmart would increase the prices for customers who use the free pickup service, but that’s not the case! The retailer guarantees that you pay the same low prices as folks who shop in the store.

If an item’s price changes between the time you place your order and the day it’s packed, you’ll be charged the lower price.

Walmart’s substitution policy can also work in your favor. If you choose to allow substitutions and one is made, you’ll always be charged for the lower priced item.

Label indicates this bag contains a substituted item
Label indicates this bag contains a substituted item

3. Payment options

Only credit and debit cards are accepted for Walmart Grocery orders. I simply added a credit card to my Walmart.com account when I was going through the checkout process and paying for my order.

Some Walmart stores have started to accept EBT for online grocery pickup orders. See the list of stores here.

4. Watch for text and email alerts

After I placed my first Walmart Grocery order, I received an email with information on when it would be ready and where exactly I would pick it up at my local store.

The email also gave me the option to add items to my order before a cut-off time. That’s a plus for forgetful people like me.

When my order was ready the next morning, I got an email and a text to let me know. To save time, the text suggested that I check in using the Walmart Grocery app when I was on my way.

5. Follow the orange signs

My biggest worry was getting lost while searching for the pickup area. Although I’ve been to my local Walmart dozens of times, I never paid attention to the orange signs until I placed this order.

Luckily for me, orange “Pickup” signs were everywhere and led me to a special parking area for pickup orders.

I showed up during the middle of my time slot because that’s how Kroger suggests customers of its own grocery pickup service can beat the rush. I was the only grocery pickup customer there!

Orange signs lead you to Walmart's grocery pickup area
Orange signs lead you to Walmart’s grocery pickup area

6. Call the number on the sign and wait for your order

After parking in one of the designated spaces for online grocery pickups, I called the phone number posted and waited for my order.

A Walmart associate brought my groceries to my car two minutes later. He told me about a substitution that had to be made and I signed for my order. He then loaded the groceries into my trunk in less than three minutes.

By the way, Walmart’s website says that store associates don’t accept tips, but a “thank you” is appreciated.

7. Walmart Grocery promo codes

In addition to saving time, Walmart Grocery can save you money! There are often coupon codes for the service, including $10 off your first order of $50 or more. Get the deal at ClarkDeals.com.

Final thoughts

This was my first time trying Walmart’s free grocery pickup service, but it won’t be the last. I was really impressed!

From ordering to pickup, the entire process was easy. The fruits and vegetables that I ordered were fresh, which is the way it should be but was honestly one of my primary concerns.

I also appreciated the fairness of the substitution policy and ended up with a national brand item when a generic wasn’t available.

Groceries carefully loaded into my trunk
Groceries carefully loaded into my trunk

My favorite thing about Walmart Grocery is how much time it saved me. My local store typically has long lines at checkout, so it was nice to be able to avoid the crowds. I didn’t even have to leave my car!

I can see myself using this service more often closer to the holidays when Walmart’s parking lot is jam-packed.

One final note: I learned that you can still use Walmart Savings Catcher on your grocery pickup order. Just look for the TC# on the receipt that Walmart emails you and enter it manually in the Walmart app.

Have you tried Walmart Grocery? Give us your review in the comments section below!

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