How to Use Online Grocery Delivery in 2021

This service is more widely available now than it used to be, but you'll want to pay close attention to order minimums and fees — and leave room for a tip.
person in mask delivering groceries

Having groceries delivered is quite convenient, especially with some states still under stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus pandemic. Fortunately, online grocery delivery has also grown in popularity over the last couple of years, and has expanded to even more areas. So if you've been wondering, "Is there grocery delivery near me?" the answer is probably yes!

How do you choose the best online grocery delivery service for you in 2021? A number of options are available, but this guide lays out what you need to know before you sign up for any of them.

What to Know Before Trying Online Grocery Delivery

How to Choose the Right Grocery Delivery Service

The right grocery delivery service for you will depend on a few factors, from your location to the stores you prefer to shop. Most larger cities should have a few different services available, so you shouldn't be forced into using only one. Just remember, while there may be some overlap in the stores you can get a delivery from, each service will likely have exclusives.

If you're going to use online grocery delivery services on a regular basis, consider investing in a membership to save on fees.

For instance, one service may shop at Target and Costco, while another service in the same area could offer delivery from Target, but may shop a local grocery store rather than Costco. You can certainly try out these services individually. But if you're going to have groceries delivered on a regular basis, you might want to consider investing in a membership to save on fees.

Before signing up for a service offering grocery delivery, we recommend you carefully read the terms and conditions, so you'll know what to expect.

What Should You Do if Your Order Is Wrong?

While many grocery orders go off without a hitch, issues do arise sometimes. It's important to keep an eye on your order while the shopper is working on it, so you'll know if you need to approve any changes or if items are out of stock.

SEE ALSO: Top Coronavirus Prevention Tips for Shoppers

You might not be aware of some issues until your order actually arrives, though. In those cases, the best thing you can do is immediately contact the company to report the problem. Issues can include missing items, products you didn't order, and the wrong prices being charged. The sooner you alert online grocery delivery companies, the more likely you'll have a smooth resolution.

Do You Tip for Online Grocery Delivery?

As with any other delivery service, it's important to show your appreciation to your driver. It might be even more important now, as we're still dealing with the pandemic. Many consumers don't feel comfortable going out to run errands, so they're turning to delivery services to take care of these activities. We'd recommend tipping at least 20% in these cases, but obviously, you should adhere to what your budget can handle. And every little bit is appreciated.

4 Online Grocery Delivery Services to Check Out


Delivery cost: From $3.99; however, shoppers can buy an Instacart Express membership for $9.99 per month or $99 per year, and that'll waive delivery fees on orders over $35.

Minimum order: Varies based on store.

Delivery time: As little as one hour.

Delivers to: Nationwide, but you can check here to see if it's available in your area.

How it works: Place an order online, or by using the Android or iOS app, and schedule your delivery. A personal shopper will then fulfill your order and deliver your groceries to your door. You also have the opportunity to add, change, or remove items before shopping begins, update replacement choices, and approve changes while shopping is in progress.


Delivery cost: As low as $2.95 with available discounts, although the site has the following fees for these order sizes:

  • $100 and up: $6.95
  • $75 to $100: $7.95
  • $30 to $75: $9.95

Pickup is also available in select areas for free. If you opt for delivery, note that a fuel surcharge may apply, as well.

Minimum order: $30

Delivery time: Next-day delivery in most areas, with same-day delivery available in select areas.

Delivers to: Various cities around the East Coast. Check here to see if it's available in your area.

How it works: Shop for groceries — filter by dietary needs, shop organic produce, and more. Then schedule your delivery, whether it's same-day, next-day, or another time. You can also shop for meal kits, and even get alcohol delivered in some markets. Shop online, or via the Android or iOS app.


Delivery cost: Receive unlimited deliveries with your Shipt Everyday membership, which is $99 per year. Delivery is free on orders over $35, and $7 for orders under. Alternatively, you can purchase Shipt Passes, which vary in price — you receive discounts on packs of three or five passes, for instance. They cover your delivery fee, with no minimum order required.

Minimum order: None, though if an order is less than $35, you'll be charged a $7 fee.

Delivery time: As soon as one hour after you order.

Delivers to: Nationwide, but you can check here to see if it's available in your area.

How it works: Pick your membership and sign up. Then once that's done, you simply shop online, or via the Android or iOS app. Once you've added your groceries to your order, choose a payment method, delivery window, and then check out. While most items at the store are available through Shipt, if you don't see what you're looking for, you can add a custom request for your shopper. Alcohol delivery is available in select areas, although a $7 fee may apply from some retailers.

Walmart Grocery

Delivery cost: Unlimited with purchase of Walmart+ membership for $12.95 per month, or $98 per year. Otherwise, delivery fees vary based on the time slot you book.

Minimum order: $35

Delivery time: As soon as same-day.

Delivers to: Available in cities nationwide.

How it works: Choose a date and time for online grocery delivery from Walmart before you begin shopping. Then, add your items online, or via the Android or iOS app. A variety of products are available, from organic foods, to ready-to-eat meals, to alcohol in select locations. Pay for your order via a credit card and wait for it to be delivered.

Readers, what have your experiences been like with online grocery delivery? Let us know in the comments below!

Julie Ramhold
Senior Staff Writer/Consumer Analyst

Julie's work has been featured on CNBC, GoBankingRates, Kiplinger, Marketwatch, Money, The New York Times, Real Simple, US News, WaPo, WSJ, Yahoo!, and more. She's extolled the virtues of DealNews in interviews with Cheddar TV, GMA, various podcasts, and affiliates across the United States, plus one in Canada.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


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