When I was a new mom on maternity leave, one of my favorite activities was walking to the local grocery store. That 10-minute walk was a stress-reducing activity that got me out of the house. I would aimlessly wander the aisles, picking up a couple items here and there at each visit. We’re out of bananas? Sure, I’ll walk to the store and grab a few. We don’t have any eggs? No problem, just another excuse to get outside for another stroller walk.
Fast forward to today and, life sometimes feels too busy for even the quickest grocery store visit. Now that I’m a mom to two energetic toddlers, it’s important to me that we have ample produce to create healthy meals at home during the week—and we’ve turned to a variety of delivery services to help make that happen.
If you’re new to grocery delivery, we’re sharing a handful of helpful tips for ordering groceries online—plus, check out our list of favorite grocery, meal, and delivery services to order from!
8 of the Best Grocery Delivery Services to Make Your Life Easier
Tips for Ordering Groceries Online
If you’ve never ordered groceries online before, here are a few helpful tips to guide you through your first experience. Though these tips are universal, remember that each delivery service or app operates slightly differently, so familiarize yourself with the nuances of each platform before you hit checkout!
If you’re someone who likes to carefully inspect each piece of fruit before adding it to your cart, know that you won’t be able to do that with a delivery service. If you add five avocados to your virtual cart, understand that they might all be hard as rocks, or they might arrive super ripe. Have your meal plan in mind, but don’t be rigid. If you receive five ripe avocados, whip up some guacamole and celebrate, even if they’re not exactly what you wanted.
Understand the Delivery Windows
Each service does things a little differently, so make sure you understand how the ordering and delivery window process works when you go to place your order. Some services will deliver groceries if you’re not home, but others prefer you to physically accept them. Additionally, some services offer near-instant delivery while others require a larger window of time to process and deliver your order.
It’s also helpful to be mindful of holidays or other events happening on a given day or timeframe—Thanksgiving, the Super Bowl, etc.—and give yourself a little extra time if you need groceries during that day or week.
Shopper Tip: One of our editors shared that she usually places her grocery orders at night and selects the first delivery window available the next morning. Not only does she get her groceries delivered early in the day, but stores typically receive shipments of new produce or goods overnight or in the early morning, ensuring she gets the best items in her order!
Double-Check Your Order
Before placing your order, double (or triple!) check it to ensure all your selections are exactly what you need and intend to buy. Many grocery delivery issues arise due to user error within the service’s app or online ordering system, so it’s helpful to try and catch any mistakes before hitting the order button.
Additionally, check over your order once it arrives to make sure you received everything as planned and none of your items are damaged. If you do come across an issue, notify the delivery service right away to request a refund.
Search for Deals and Referral Codes
Most delivery services offer incentives for first-time subscribers. Take a few minutes to ask your friends or search online for new member deals. For example, if you have a friend who can refer you to Winc, you’ll get money off your first order and they’ll get free wine. That’s a win-win!
The Best Grocery Delivery Services
Next, we’re sharing some of the delivery services keeping us fed. Not all of these services deliver nationwide, so check to see if they (or a similar option) are available in your area.
Perhaps the most well-known grocery delivery service out there, Instacart is a fan-favorite because, well, it’s super easy to use. You don’t need a membership to use Instacart’s service, and delivery fees start at just $3.99 for same-day orders over $35. Plus, their website and app allow you to choose exactly what you want to order and get real-time updates as the shopper selects your items (and you can communicate with them to make changes as needed!).
Another popular grocery delivery service, Amazon Fresh uses your Amazon Prime membership to delivery groceries and other goods right to your doorstep. Not only is this service super convenient, but you can even verbally tell your Amazon Alexa devices to add groceries or items you need to your shopping list as you run out of them, and they’ll be automatically added to your Amazon Fresh account for the next time you’re ready to place an order. Users can choose from attended or unattended delivery options, and most deliveries happen in two hours or less.
I love a solid Costco haul, but if I’m not able to run to the store, I’m ordering from the Costco site. The options are somewhat limited, but some of my favorite items are available for home delivery (hello, dried mango and seltzer!). Items seem to regularly come in and out of stock, so check back frequently. You must be a Costco member to order, and shipping is free on orders over $75.
Feel good about your grocery order. Imperfect Foods delivers imperfect or surplus produce, pantry items, and dairy. The site offers both organic and conventional options at competitive prices. You can fully customize your box, selecting the items and quantity you want. Delivery dates are based on your zip code. You can sign up to have boxes delivered every week or less frequently if preferred.
Join Thrive Market and load up on organic pantry staples, fish, meat, home products, supplements, and even beauty products. The site makes it easy to search by diet; you can select nut-free, paleo, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, and more to narrow down your results. Membership is $59.95 a year and each order over $49 qualifies for free shipping. Try it free for 30 days.
Fill out a profile and Hungryroot will meet your family’s needs with customized boxes. Input any dietary restrictions, favorite foods, how many meals you want, and more to ensure a personalized experience. Each box contains groceries as well as recipes to instruct you on how to use those groceries, leading to delicious meals and less waste. You can get a box each week or skip weeks as needed.
Get quality meat delivered right to your door. With ButcherBox, you can customize your box, choosing from a mix of beef, chicken, and pork, (plus sometimes they offer fish as an add-on). You don’t select the actual cuts of meat, so it’s a bit of a surprise when your box arrives. If you’re adventurous in the kitchen, this can provide a fun challenge to get you out of your comfort zone.
Need a glass of wine at the end of a hard day? Us too. We recommend trying Winc, a wine delivery service. Simply fill out a flavor profile and Winc will recommend bottles based on your palate. You can take those recommendations or swap for other options. Once you get through a bottle, head back to the site and rate your wines to help inform future recommendations. You can skip a month at any time.