How to get your groceries delivered without using Woolworths or Coles

19 Nov, 2020

On the face of it, Woolworths and Coles have been great for Australian consumers. Even if you don’t like shopping with them, they’ve still led the way in terms of online shopping, and that’s revolutionised the way we’re able to shop.

But they’re by no means perfect.

Ethical consumer group, Shop Ethical, for instance, gives both Woolworths and Coles a bunch of red flags.

They say Woolworths, for example, is Australia’s biggest operator of poker machines, that they label their eggs free range when technically they’re not, that they have nanoparticles in their food products, and that they’ve been fined for misleading customers, anticompetitive conduct and unfair conduct.

Woolworths Shop Ethical Scorecard

Similarly, they say Coles mislabel their ‘free-range’ eggs, that they score just 8.8 out of 22 on the WWF Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard, that they’ve been fined for misleading conduct and unconscionable conduct, and that they were caught underpaying workers.

Coles Shop Ethical Scorecard

Then, of course, there’s the whole issue of quality. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had slimy, brown, wilted coriander delivered by Woolworths. Or the number of times they’ve squashed my chicken in with my fruit (despite numerous complaints). And, for my money, their steak, sausages and chicken kebabs don’t even come close to the amazing cuts Brian has down at my local butchers.

Last, but not least, I like to shop locally. In part, this is selfish: I want my favourite local shops to survive so I can continue shopping with them. But it’s also partly altruistic: I’ve run a small business of my own for 18 years, and I know how hard it is to compete against the big boys.

So the question is, how can you get your groceries delivered without using Woolworths or Coles? In my experience, there are four different ways:

  1. Call and order on the phone
  2. Buy only from stores with their own online shop
  3. Find a personal shopper on AirTasker
  4. Use an online grocery marketplace

1. Call and order on the phone

Some shops do delivery, but don’t have an online shop. You just have to call with your order and pay on the phone.

I’ve done this a few times in the past, but for me it’s not ideal. I panic when I have to order on the spot like that; I like to take my time to ensure I order exactly what I need.

Often there’s too much noise in the shop for them to hear me properly, too. So I have to yell, and still I worry they’ll get my order wrong.

Plus I have no idea what they do with my credit card number and security code after writing them down. Do they just sit there on a scrap of paper for anyone to find? Could they even blow out onto the street?

And what happens if I want a range of products that I can’t get at that one store? I then have to order from another shop (and be at home for another delivery).

2. Buy only from stores with their own online shop

There are a few small, local grocery shops with their own online shop. For example, one of my fruit & veg shops has one.

But they’re not my favourite fruit & veg shop; I prefer the one next-door to my favourite butcher. Hard to say why, it just feels better.

Plus their ecommerce facility isn’t very easy to use, and more than once it’s crashed right in the middle of payment. I suppose they just didn’t have the money to invest in building and maintaining a solid ecommerce facility (which, when you think about it, isn’t surprising for a little shop).

They don’t do same-day delivery, either, which is a bummer.

And, as with calling with my order, it’s not ideal if I need other products they don’t sell.

3. Find a personal shopper on AirTasker

Who wouldn’t want a personal shopper? I know my wife would love one! But she’d also love a cleaner, a chef and a nanny, and unfortunately in the long term, none of those are feasible for us.

There are people who offer this ‘personal shopper’ service on AirTasker, but they charge $80-$150 per shop, sometimes more, and that’s on top of your grocery bill!

4. Use an online grocery marketplace

With an online grocery marketplace like My Corner Shop, you can buy online from all your favourite local shops, and have everything delivered that same day.

And unlike the options above:

  • It’s easy to use
  • You can take your time with your order
  • Your credit card details are safe
  • You can buy from multiple shops in one transaction
  • You can get everything delivered at once
  • You can get same-day delivery
  • Delivery is usually about the same price as Woolworths & Coles (often cheaper)
  • Your chicken never gets squashed into the same bag as your fruit!

Conclusion

So if quality’s important to you or you just like to shop locally, you do have options. You don’t have to resign yourself to shopping at Woolworths and Coles, just because you want the convenience of having your groceries delivered. Try one of the options above, and let us know how you go.

Happy (local) shopping!

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