Since the Covid-19 outbreak, many people have switched from in-store to digital shopping. According to a survey by Supermarket News, 52% of adult consumers purchased groceries online in the past 12 months, more than double the number in 2018. Not only does digital shopping minimizes exposure to the COVID-19 virus, it offers convenience, saving both time and money.

If you are an early adopter, you may feel you’ve mastered shopping online. There are many options available today for purchasing foods online. Research the options and services each retailer provides to decide what best fits your family. Consider these tips offered by Extension Nutrition and Consumer Economics specialists:

Fees. Find out if the retailer charges subscription fees, delivery or service fees.          

Minimum Order. Do they have a minimum order requirement?

Substitutions. What if they do not have the item you ordered? Will they substitute with a similar product? Will you be notified? Will you be able to choose? Will they honor price of the item you originally selected?

Time frame. How far in advance do you have to place your order before you can pick up your items?

Shopping list. Does the retailer allow you to make a shopping list or identify your favorite items to make shopping easier and quicker over time?

Payment. Can you use a credit cards, debit cards or EBT cards? Do you pay in advance or at pick up?

Produce. Will the retailer let you inspect your produce and perishable items at pick up? You don’t want to get home with squashed tomatoes and bruised bananas if you can help it. 

Coupons. Do they offer online coupons? Accept paper coupons at pick up?

Nutritional Value. Can you view food labels online?

Pricing. Pay attention to unit pricing and weight of products. Are you ordering two bananas or two pounds of bananas? Cost of some items, such as meats may depend on their weight.

Shopping online can be a safe and convenient option for making purchases. Do your homework and compare pricing, services, payment options and policies of the places where you think you’d like to shop. Retailers use ads to encourage impulse purchases online, so watch out for marketing tactics. Committing to purchasing only the items on your shopping list is a smart strategy to avoid overspending whether you’re shopping online, or in the store.


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