BY CHRISTINE LEE
Online grocery shopping that includes at-store pickup or home delivery has taken off during the coronavirus pandemic.
Grocers have some tips to expedite the process, and they advise customers to exercise patience because of the surging demand.
Online ordering is offered by most grocery stores. While the process varies by chain, it typically involves creating an online account, picking out items from the store website, paying online and selecting a time for pickup or delivery.
Most stores offer a website or a mobile app. After an account is created, you pick the store location where you want to get your groceries, and a pickup time, and begin adding items to your virtual shopping cart. When finished, you check out and place your order, usually paying via credit card.
Once an order time is set, customers drive to the store and park in a designated area, and an employee brings the order to their vehicle.
Some stores require a minimum order for pickup or delivery, so check the fine print.
At some stores, you can call in your order.
Weis spokesman Dennis Curtin, who noted record demand for online ordering because of the stay-at-home order, said the key to the process is securing a time slot for pickup and delivery, suggesting customers place orders with as much lead time as possible to get the best pickup or delivery times available.
Another tip is to add a description of some items at checkout so the person choosing your products will select items more to your preference.
Curtin said most orders can be filled within 24 hours, the standard time for online retail food orders in the region.
Frank Tipa, a manager of Boyer’s Food Markets in Orwigsburg, said when shopping for items online, it is best to look at specific store departments. Customers also have better results when they type something more general into the search field.
“Sometimes when you’re looking for something specific, you can’t always find it,” he said.
He also recommends using Google Chrome or Firefox browsers for online shopping.
When checking out an order, customers can put in notes or comments in the “special notes” field, Tipa said. Like the others, Boyer’s offers an option for customers to designate substitutions for orders upon checkout.
And be sure to check closely for the size of a product, such as laundry detergent, when clicking on pictures online.
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