Do you like the prices and products at Superstore, but not the shopping experience? Enter Click & Collect. You place your order online, zip into one of the reserved parking spots at your designated time, and you’re off with your groceries, for just $3-5 extra.
At least that’s the idea.
I tried Click & Collect last Friday, and checked out what others are saying on social media. The bottom line: It’s worth trying, but they still need to work out some kinks, especially with the pickup.
How it works
After that it’s pretty straightforward. If you can do Amazon, you can do this.
It took me just under an hour to place my first (very large) order, but the second took less than 15 minutes, thanks to the “My Shop” feature. Lesson learned: If you have a PC Plus account, link to it before you place your first order, so you can start with your frequently purchased items and be off to the races.
There were just a few hiccups. I put a bag of organic apples in my cart only to have them disappear from the system entirely. (I couldn’t actually find any bagged organic apples after that.)
I ordered extra tortillas and dark chocolate because they were on sale, but when I checked out, the system advised me that the sale would end before my pickup date. Would I like to pick up tonight instead, to take advantage of the sale? Uh, no.
Otherwise, considering the 30,000 or so products they’re matching to inventory at 60+ stores nationwide, they did pretty well. This is no small feat.
Pickup, a bit bumpy
At the start of your 2-hour pickup window, your groceries are supposed to be ready to go, waiting in numbered bins in the Click & Collect freezers, fridges and shelves. I wanted to take a peek at the operation, so I went inside (which you wouldn’t normally do). The two employees on duty seemed downright frazzled.
One was sent running for two items that hadn’t been on the shelf when they collected my order. She came back with the baby kale, but they were still out of the the bag of regular apples I had eventually ordered. She wasn’t sure what kind of apples I would want instead, so I went for them myself.
Then we transferred the items from their bins into mine. I noticed that the white kidney beans I ordered had been filled with regular kidney beans. By the time we got that sorted out and everything paid for, I had been there just under 30 minutes.
Fellow dietitian Melanie Ksienski posted this on Instagram later the same day:
She went on to say later that it took about 35-40 minutes in total.
I’ve seen at least two other posts from busy mamas reporting being told to come back later. Yikes!
Hopefully they’ll get past these growing pains, but in the meantime, you might want to bring a book.
Benefit: save money
Despite the fee ($3 when it’s slower, $5 during peak times), this service should save you money. If you’re not already a Superstore shopper, chances are you’d cut your grocery bill by switching. According to the last six grocery price comparisons done by CTV Calgary, it’s our lowest-priced major chain, not every month, but more often than not.
On mobile? Scroll to the right to see the totals.
Source: CTV Grocery Price Comparison
Even if you already shop there, consider the impulse buys you’ll avoid. Everything about a grocery store is designed to maximize your spending, so never setting foot inside is likely to save you money, especially if you’re shopping with children.
My only complaint here is that when you sort items by price, the system sorts them by their total, not unit price, so you’ll just see the smaller packages, not necessarily the best buys. You can, however, search for promotions.
But how’s the produce quality?
When I mention this service, people often express doubts about the produce, saying they’d prefer to select their own. While I empathize with this, and expect the occasional dud, I’m happy to say that everything was fine, and I saw several similar reports on social media.
My only complaint is that you can’t tell country of origin which, for some products, makes a big difference. For example, I prefer apples from Canada, but I’ll take US-grown, never New Zealand. (What is it with me and apples?)
Is less walking better?
For people with mobility challenges or those
dragging around enjoying the company of small children, this will be a huge benefit. For the rest of us, this is one more in a long list of activities that no longer require us to move. Not necessarily a good thing. So if it actually saves you time, can you replace that big-box store walk with a sunshine and trees walk?
Amazingly, they’ve managed to give the nutrition information, ingredient list and guiding star rating for each item, even food that would not normally have a food label, like fresh produce and meat. I’d love to see them incorporate that into the search feature, so people can hunt for the three-star crackers, for example.
Meanwhile, when you’re searching for something like cereal, narrowing it down by a healthier brand, like Blue Menu or Nature’s Path, may help you find whole grains or lower-sodium and lower-sugar items. But read the label just to be sure.
The bottom line on Click & Collect
This is a great idea for many, but time will tell whether it will make your grocery shopping easier. It’s surprising that Superstore didn’t staff-up to make the launch more of a success. Nonetheless, for me, picking up groceries on the way home from work without having to go in the store is too appealing to pass up, even if it means cooling my heels for a few minutes in the parking lot.
If you try it, let me know what you think! You can share your feedback on the Sweet Spot Facebook page.