A comparison between grocery delivery services shows us the price of poor communication: what you see is what you get?

Caption of a paper bag with groceries.
Photo: Marco Verch Professional

Now more than ever, we rely on technology to make our daily lives easier, everything from communication to shopping. Something that hasn’t changed is that we all need to eat. A well functioning app is crucial when it comes to grocery delivery. Especially nowadays when we all want to slow the spread of the Coronavirus. And yes, we’d also like the delivery person to just leave the order outside our door to avoid any form of human contact that will potentially risk our health. So what are customers looking for when choosing who will have the honor to deliver their groceries? We wanted to find out and therefore we analyzed three grocery delivery companies; Shipt, Boxed, and Instacart.

Why do we say this?

When we’re paying extra for our groceries to be delivered to our doorstep, there’s nothing wrong with expecting smooth sailing, without any delivery delays or other hassles. Boxed is doing exceptionally well on the delivery front, with an average grade of 4,47 / 5 and increasing sentiment for the topic “delivered”. The free shipping for orders over $49 is undoubtedly popular!

However, it seems that Instacart is not doing too well, with an average grade of 1,33 / 5. Shipt isn’t that impressive either with the average grade of 1,60 / 5. Other than being on time, it could be that they need to work on their communication skills. This can really come in handy when customers have specific instructions and want to prevent their orders from being delivered to the wrong address. 

To make the deliveries happen, we need a reliable mobile order system. For the topic “app”, it seems that Boxed has a very convenient ordering system, hence the highest average grade of a whopping 4,83 / 5. Shipt’s app, on the other hand,  made it difficult for users to cancel their membership, since there’s no option to do that in the app. This resulted in a lower average grade of 1,43 / 5. Instacart has an average grade of 1,50 / 5. Their app seemed to be leading customers on by first telling them their order is delayed to finally say it’s canceled.

The question is if online grocery shopping can be a priceworthy alternative? According to Boxed’s average grade of 4,67 /5 for the topic “prices”, it seems that price worthiness can be achieved. With an average grade of 1,31 / 5, Instacart is seemingly overcharging and adding more fees that customers were unaware of. Shipt seems to be a little bit too expensive and has an average grade of 1,81 / 5.


Caption of topics and grades from the Shipt dashboard of this analysis.

Conclusion and suggestion

So… what are customers really looking for concerning getting food on the table during these challenging times? Most certainly, they’d choose high-quality products at a low price to be delivered as soon as possible, AND being able to resolve eventual issues in an efficient way. Do we have any recommendations?

Well… the fact that delivery services are in high demand is definitely understandable due to the lockdown. This is exactly why improvements need to be made when it comes to handling various order issues efficiently. For instance, customer support needs to be available at all times. It should not be a struggle to reach them when in need of assistance. This could also be the perfect opportunity to take a closer look at the app’s interface and its functionalities for a hassle-free order experience without any unpleasant surprises.

The research team at Gavagai performed this analysis using our AI-powered text analysis tool, Gavagai Explorer. All texts from Shipt, Boxed, and Instacart that were analyzed in this article are collected from public online data published on TrustPilot.

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