Loblaws’ super idea of Click & Collect might send consumers walking right back to the Superstore.
Having to drive by Loblaws each week, I have noticed that these pick up parking spaces are completely empty. Being someone who is picky with selecting the perfect peach (PHEc Tip: Smell them, if they don’t smell like a peach, put it back!), I was hesitant. Cue in a super busy day, some staples that are needed (who can screw up picking out a carton of milk), and I go online before 6am to see if this can help with a stressful life.
Then I tried finding my 2% Natrel Lactose-Free milk. It’s not their best seller so then I had to go into the Milk & Dairy section. There were still 78 items/options so I discovered “Search” in the top left corner. That made it way easier. Next item for me, butter. (Yes, I know you are going to say something. Everything in moderation and a good baker knows the value of butter at times.) That’s when things really started to make me rethink: $6.99 for 454g of salted butter. I know butter has increased in price over the past 5 years. But a frugal PHEc wouldn’t pay that unless company was coming and I was in a pinch.
This showed me one complete downfall to this Click & Collect personal shopping service: No price matching! Then I wondered….. I bet there is no couponing too! Gasp!
For the average consumer in London, Ontario (one of the wealthiest cities in Canada, I think), this is definitely a “First Class Digital Experience” (seen on the back of the paper flyer I picked up in-store). Add the unadvertised $3-5 fee that the web store requires you to pay for the service to the Loblaws luxury (um, higher) shelf prices with no options for price matching/couponing, and I emptied my virtual cart. This just wasn’t for me. It could be for you. Here’s a list to summarize my thoughts so you can decide yourself:
Convenience – For busy nights, parents with screaming children, and for rushed lifestyles.
Valet for Groceries – Easy for people with mobility issues but can use a car.
Fun – Yes shopping online seems to be a hobby of some these days.
Cart Starter Options – Have a personalized shopping list ready every time you log on. It makes it easier to search and select the items, so even less time “shopping” for the items you usually buy.
Payments upon Pickup – No payment ahead of time but you do need a credit card to “secure” the order. You can use debit instead of a credit card since you don’t technically pay when ordering.
Sales – Clearly marked and the same prices as the flyers.
Prices – Option to view products from Low to High prices to find a cheaper alternative of a similar food.
Personalize Pickings – You can specify if you want ripe fruits, or certain details to make sure it’s just how you’d pick it out.
Social Sanity – For those who hate busy times or crowed places, it can make grocery shopping peaceful.
Substitution Options – Allow substitutions or not. If you do, you can specify if it has to be from the same brand, or never for a higher price. You can decide at your car to take the item or not (it says). This personal preference can be saved on your account for each category – Milk vs Fruits & Veggies.
Cost – Higher prices are usually at Loblaws compared to its sister stores like No Frills & Superstore.
Minimum Purchase Required – You need to spend at least $30 to use the service.
Fee – Additional fee of $3 at less busy times and $5 after 5pm and on weekends.
Price Matching – No option for this, leading to an increased cost for the money savvy shoppers.
Coupons – No option for this.
Bags – It does ask in a type box (not a more visual drop box) if you are using your own bags. Obviously if you do not specify you could be charged the 5 cents per bag. Another added cost.
Substitution Options – If you gave permission for them to substitute, you wouldn’t find out until you “collected” your order. Plus if that was a necessary item, it might be not worth the extra costs, when you realize you went home with an unavailable item and the rest of the required $30 minimum of food.
Select Locations – Definitely not available at it sister store, No Frills. I’m not sure if EVERY Loblaws has this option. (Let me know if it’s available at locations near you.).
Personally, I’ll just keep sticking to the “Go & Grab” method of grocery shopping instead of “Click & Collect”. It might be a busy day ahead for me, but at least I will get some walking and weight lifting (carrying the bags myself) in for my daily physical activity. I think I’ll save my family a lot of money, since I’m not choosing the “First Class” experience.
Frugal Tip: Sign up for an account, check your email and you receive $5 off your “next” order. Consider it free valet (the Click & Collect fee for busy times) for one day!
*Please note that I have not used this service, as explained above, to completion. It is possible that some details might change if I had been able to complete the entire service.