After my first experience buying groceries online, I thought it was only fair to try the competition as well. So last week I ordered a batch of groceries from Woolworths online store — keeping the order a similar price to the one I ordered from Coles Online earlier in the month.
How was the overall experience?
I had difficulty with the registration at first — it refused to allow me to validate my address, even after I tried it in three different browsers. Eventually I realised that the postcode field didn’t work properly if you tabbed through too quickly and was not detecting my postcode — pretty frustrating. However when I tried it again this week I didn’t have the same problems so perhaps it has been fixed, or is related to the computer I was on at the time.
The rest of the ordering process went fairly smoothly, and it wasn’t difficult to find the products I needed to order. I set the items to be delivered the next day — a Saturday morning, between 9am and 12am.
Just before 12 when I was beginning to wonder when my groceries would arrive, I received a call to say the driver was running late and would take another half an hour or so. This was not a problem as I didn’t need to leave the house until 4pm. Some time passed, then I received another call stating the driver was running even more late. In all the driver was over an hour late. Again, this didn’t worry me as I didn’t need to go anywhere just yet, but it could have been a colossal pain if I had to go out earlier in the afternoon.
The other downside to the late delivery I didn’t notice until I was unpacking. The ice-cream I had ordered was almost completely thawed and soft right to the middle. Thankfully (as you can see from the review) it still tasted fine, but I was glad I had not ordered more cold items, and wondered why the delivery vans did not have adequate cooling if they could be delayed for so long.
How else did it differ from Coles Online?
There are not as many payment options, which was a disappointment as I prefer to use Mobile EFTPOS — but a credit card, debit card or gift card at the time of order seemed to be the only options available.
Delivery payments are also different and depend on the amount ordered rather than the timeslot. Orders up to $99.00 cost $13.00 for delivery, $100–149.99 costs $9.00, $150–199.99 costs $7.00, $200–249.99 costs $5.00, and orders over $250.00 are delivered free. Therefore my order cost $7.00 to deliver.
The Woolworths invoice is not only itemised like the Coles invoice, but organised into different sections (eg Baking, Condiments, Frozen Food) which made it easier to check off the items to make sure they had arrived.
I also found that there were more items that I could not find in the store that were available online. Perhaps this was due to my unfamiliarity with the store compared to Coles, but I searched for a long time without luck.
What about the price comparison?
I took my invoice to the local Woolworths store in Toowong to compare the online prices the same way I had compared them for Coles. The store prices were cheaper in general, although this time it was a sneaky 7% rather than the 8% at Coles, and wasn’t as consistent. There were some online items that were not even on sale that were still much cheaper. And once again, I took advantage of the online specials, which were usually between 30–50% off the store prices. This meant that my online purchases were $14.00 cheaper than the store price, easily covering the $7.00 delivery fee.
You can check the prices yourself in this spreadsheet. (Please let me know if you find any errors!)
The final verdict?
Overall, although Woolworths did turn out to have less difference between their online and in store prices, I still prefer Coles Online. The ability to pay with Mobile EFTPOS, as well as the late delivery from Woolworths are the main reasons, although it’s still a pretty close decision. If Woolworths were to add a Mobile EFTPOS payment option (or even better — Paypal) I would definitely give them another go.