Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ordering Groceries Online - Peapod Review


A few weeks ago I wrote about my tour of the Peapod grocery delivery wareroom. I was impressed with the efficiency of the whole system. On that day, each tour guest received a gift card to try the Peapod service. I waited until we had a hectic week coming up, and this was the time to place that order.

On Saturday I browsed the Stop & Shop ad and, using that information plus my own list of the groceries we needed, I logged into the Peapod website. I set up a NutriFilter to identify foods that were low in sodium, low in trans fat, and high in potassium.

Here are my impressions after placing the order:

  • I love the convenience of shopping online, sitting at my kitchen table!

  • Some items that I wanted weren't available, but everything essential was there.

  • The NutriFilter isn't perfect: even though the nutrition profile for bananas fits my criteria, the item wasn't marked as fitting into my NutriFilter. It did flag plantains and orange juice as good choices, though, which makes sense.

  • Some of the prices are higher than sale prices at other stores (e.g., milk was not on sale here), but overall I think it works out to be roughly the same. Without the temptation to pick up extra items, I'm sure I saved money as well as calories. (Impulse purchases always seem to be junk food!)

  • I found a few unexpected items, like postage stamps and gift cards for a wide array of stores--all at face value. Having these delivered with a grocery order could be convenient and save an errand.

  • I chose a delivery time that allowed me to save $1.50 on the delivery charge. Since my schedule is flexible, that was an easy way to save. I saved an additional $10 with a promo code (widely available online), so the $9.95 delivery charge was more than covered.

  • I placed the order on Saturday afternoon, to be delivered on Tuesday. It's finished and out of my way, but I still have until Monday afternoon to make changes. This is very convenient!

  • Coupons need to be given, in a sealed envelope, to the driver. They'll be deducted later. I guess that means that my credit card will be charged for the order, then credited for the value of my coupons.

  • Immediately after I ordered, I received an email message that listed my entire order. You also have the option to receive a printed invoice with your order.

At the scheduled time on Tuesday, the Peapod delivery truck arrived.

The driver brought the bags just inside the front door, as I requested. My son noticed right away that the foil seal on one of the yogurt cups was punctured; the driver apologized and issued me a credit on the spot. As I reviewed the invoice I found that two items were out of stock and their price deducted from my total. The cold items were cold, the produce was high quality, none of the cans were dented, and the bread wasn't squashed. I couldn't have done a better job myself.

The only incorrect items were the bananas: I'd ordered five green and two yellow, and we received five yellow and two green. I contacted Peapod Customer Care by email, and within 24 hours I'd received a credit. I probably could have gotten even faster service if I'd called instead of emailing.

It's tremendously convenient to order groceries online, and it feels like a luxury to have them delivered. I don't expect that we'll be using this service on a weekly basis, but it's a great option for times when we're particularly busy or there's some reason we can't go out to shop.

In case you were wondering, here is a link to the Peapod website. Peapod currently delivers to the following areas:

Eastern and Central MA
Cape Cod, MA
Rhode Island
Long Island, NY
Westchester County, NY
Northern and Central New Jersey
Greater Washington, DC
Baltimore Metropolitan area
Montgomery County, MD
Fairfax County, VA
Prince William County, VA
Loudon County, VA
Greater Chicagoland area
Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin

If you already use Peapod--or if you sign up now--you might be interested to know about the brand-new Peapod widget. Log in to your Peapod account, click the Specials tab, and select the option to add the widget to your iGoogle page. I just set it up and it's pretty neat.

Thanks to Peapod and 360 Public Relations for the tour and the opportunity to try Peapod!


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