Friday, August 25, 2017

{REVIEW} Wegmans Shopping via Instacart

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. Wegmans didn't compensate me for this review, or even know that I'm doing it. As home grocery delivery becomes the new "it" thing, I wanted to review this service since it's still relatively new compared to those that have been around for a while.

Wegmans has started rolling out delivery in certain areas via Instacart. Click here to check to see whether they're available in your area. Since this is a new service it isn't as widely available as other grocery delivery services. I was actually surprised it was available for me since the closest Wegmans is a good 30 minutes from my house. And, a friend who lives in the same town is not able to use the service yet despite being less than 5 miles away from me.

Getting started: First, you plug in your zip code to see whether the service is available where you live. Then they ask for your actual address to make sure delivery is available (see the note above about my friend). If delivery is available, you set up an account. You'll create a profile with your address, contact info., Shoppers Club Card and credit card for ordering.

Ordering: This took some getting used to, mainly because you have to be willing to hunt if the item you want in the size you want doesn't immediately appear when you search. Initially I thought I could only buy the cheddar cheese we like in a 2-lb brick. With a little searching I was able to find it in the usual 8-oz package. I'm sure now that I've done it once it won't be so difficult the next time.

Wegmans order

You can also create lists or add all the items from your last order to a new order.

Wegmans order

You can also leave comments/instructions on items. For produce I made specific requests on almost every item. I did the same for deli meat (I like it paper thin). You leave the note where it says "Add Note for Shopper":

Wegmans order

Price: There's a disclaimer that says prices are higher than in-store, but it was very negligible because my bill was on par with what we usually spend. I got free delivery on my first order (which is not nearly as nice as some other services that offer free delivery for up to 60 days) and $10 off with a coupon code. You can also link your Shoppers Club Card in your account to get their discounts automatically applied.

You can add a tip for your shopper before you pay. Note: they include a 10% service charge which you DO NOT need to accept. Just click "change" and waive that fee. That service charge is NOT the tip, which means it doesn't go to the shopper. We prefered to tip the shopper rather than give more money to Instacart, but that's up to each person to decide.

If we like the service we'll pay $149/year for unlimited delivery. This works out to less than $3/week, which is less than we'd spend on gas to get to the closest Wegmans. So that's a no-brainer right there.

Choosing a delivery time: They offer same-day delivery, sometimes within the hour, depending on availability. When I placed my order there were multiple one-hour time slots available. However, I assume weekends are their busy times so if you want Saturday delivery, I'd suggest ordering well in advance. They also charge a higher delivery fee (assuming you don't purchase their one-year plan) for busy times. I placed my order on Wednesday for Friday delivery. That way I had plenty of time to modify my order, if necessary. I always forget at least one thing, and I ended up adding three things to my order between Wednesday and Friday.
The app: I signed up for texts alerts if there were any changes to my order (i.e. something was out of stock). The app is very easy to use. I actually used it a few times before shopping began to add items I'd forgotten to include during my initial order. You can do that up until shopping begins.

Shopping: As Nicole, my shopper, was doing her thing I'd get texts alerts if an item had to be replaced. This happened 5 times for various things and only once did I request a refund vs. going with the alternative. When you get the text about the swap, you go into the app and either approve the substitution, look for other options or request a refund. Easy peasy.


Delivery: I got another text, and an estimated arrival time, once Nicole was on her way to my house. She arrived about 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

Packaging: All the items are in the same disposable plastic bags you'd get if you were shopping yourself, which is nice. We reuse those bags, or they can be recycled. I do wish there was some way to give them our reusable bags, or pay a bit extra to use theirs.

Wegmans order

Quality: We did have some minor issues. I asked for large onions and the ones in the bag are what I received (the onions we normally buy are on the left for size comparison). I guess I need to be very specific next time. We also ended up with a half gallon of milk when I ordered a quart, but that's not a huge deal. The red grapes were not the healthiest looking grapes I've ever seen, but they'll do. Otherwise, everything was pretty much what Steve would have chosen if he'd been the one doing the shopping.

Wegmans order

Verdict: All in all we were thrilled to have someone else spend the time doing the shopping and deliver the items straight to our house. Two thumbs WAY up.
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