Online Grocery Shopping Put To The Test

3/19/2011 0:30:39 AM

Discounts, sales, family size, fresh, frozen. They’re all decisions that use up time at the grocery store that we’d rather be using elsewhere.
But, is it a necessary evil? Have you ever considered doing all your grocery shopping online?
Complete with home delivery, the cyber world is sticking its toe in the door at your corner grocery store.
“It’s growing by the week. Our chart looks like this, so every week we’re getting more and more customers and it’s becoming a real business,” Right By Nature Owner Jason Brown said.

With a wink and a smile, the folks at Right By Nature in the Strip District said you can shop their store online and they’ll deliver to your door the same day.

Right By Nature is a specialty natural organic grocer. It’s the only local store getting into cyber selection and home delivery. It’s selection is somewhat limited, but that’s not the case for most of the national cyber grocers.

Bigger cyber grocers offer just about everything you’ll find in the local stores. Most concentrate on the major cities and don’t deliver to Pittsburgh, but does.

“We always base that refrigerator operation on two days delivery, so we know how much dry ice to put in the box and refrigeration packs to put in that box,” Drew Vitulano of said.

Dry goods will arrive in three or four business days through FedEx. Other companies may use UPS.

As for shipping costs, Right By Nature has a small fee.
“It cost $4.95 if you want to have your groceries delivered, and it costs nothing if you want to pick them up here at the store,” Brown said.

At NetGrocer it’s based on the dollar value of your order.
“Usually the delivery is $9.99 for up to $200,” Vitulano said.
However, the delivery charges go up quickly when you go over $200.

KDKA’s John Shumway went in search of five name brand items. He found Land O’Lakes butter, Kraft cheese slices, Steamfresh green beans, Glad trash bags and Crest toothpaste.

He then compared the prices at several local stores with NetGrocer. The totals came out to:

$23.65 at Shop ‘N Save
$24.41 at Foodland
$22.75 at Kuhns
$22.65 at Giant Eagle
$36.23 at NetGrocer

If you add the delivery charge and those five items from NetGrocer, the final cost is about twice as much as a trip to a local store.

“I like going to the store and doing my comparisons there and using my coupons,” Katie Ursta said.

“I’d rather come to the grocery store myself so you can look at the brands and see what’ s cheaper and just to get a feel of everything that’s here,” Charles Smith said.
Because Right By Nature carries it’s natural and organic lines of products, Shumway couldn’t duplicate the above product list.

He picked items that were as close as possible and the total came in about $2 higher than the other four local grocers. does not accept coupons and a problem product may have to be shipped back to get a refund.

The key if you’re interested in trying the online grocery shopping is, unless you’re using Right By Nature, which is local and delivers the same day, you have to plan ahead and understand it will be several days before you see your order.

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