Monday, Sep 26, 2022

Struggling with online grocery shopping? Here is a cheat sheet

Online grocery shopping is the new norm for many citizens in urban India given the coronavirus lockdown, which has now been extended till May 3. Here's what to keep in mind when relying on online grocery shops for essentials.

Online home delivery, Home delivery bigbasket, Home delivery grocery, Coronavirus lockdown, Coronavirus lockdown India, Zomato grocery, Swiggy grocery, Dunzo, How to use Dunzo, BigBasket delivery More of us will need to rely on home delivery for our daily essentials. Here are some tips to make the process a bit more efficient. (File photo of a BigBasket warehouse. Image source: Bloomberg)

‘My BigBasket order is canceled,’ ‘BigBasket is showing delivery after 20 days’ ‘Grofers is not delivering in my area’ ‘On Amazon, the essentials are only coming by end of May’ ‘Dunzo is not working for my area’. These are just some of the statements one hears regarding online home delivery these days. The COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent lockdown have certainly redefined online shopping for many of us living in urban areas.

Depending on where you live, home delivery of essential products has indeed become a privilege. In under a month, we have gone from a world where Amazon would deliver a package in a few hours to one where we are now again dependent on the local kirana shop. And the meaning of the word ‘essentials’ has never been so rigidly defined.

Another casualty of the lockdown is the online food delivery business, with both Zomato and Swiggy seeing a dip in sales even before the lockdown began. Post the lockdown, with many cities imposing strict restrictions on deliveries, this dip will likely be bigger. This also explains why both Zomato and Swiggy are delivering groceries now.

When it comes to getting groceries delivered via online platforms, I would say my experience so far has not been that bad. But then I would temper that with another statement: my location does make all the difference. For many who are living in South Delhi, access to several products has been easier.

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Also read: Swiggy now delivers groceries in 125 cities; Zomato Market available in 80 cities

As I’ve heard from colleagues living in Noida, who are in residential societies, many of which come with strict restrictions, their home deliveries are certainly delayed. Others living in cities like Bengaluru are also finding it hard to get some products home-delivered. Still here’s what I’ve learnt so far from my online grocery shopping experience during the lockdown.

Online home delivery, Home delivery bigbasket, Home delivery grocery, Coronavirus lockdown, Coronavirus lockdown India, Zomato grocery, Swiggy grocery, Dunzo, How to use Dunzo, BigBasket delivery In my area, Dunzo has proved to be very useful. Keep an eye on all apps which are servicing your area.

Check out every single app

Don’t limit yourself to just Grofers or BigBasket for the essentials. Try out every single app out there claiming to deliver groceries or essentials, especially if you suddenly find yourself in a COVID-19 hotspot zone and your movement is curtailed completely. Relying on smaller services might actually be more helpful given the bigger guys are swamped with orders as has been the trend.


In my area, Dunzo has proved to be a life-saver. The advantage is that it is delivering from some close by shops, which are not big names and therefore the products are more easily available. Dunzo has also delivered from shops not listed in the official groceries, food and vegetables section. You might have to call the store in advance to check availability of the product to ensure that the delivery guy doesn’t end up at the store in vain.

The first time I tried to place an order via Grofers, I got the message that the slots were all filled and I would have to check again the next day. Needless to say, I won’t be trying again simply because other apps have managed to do the delivery for me. Apps like MilkBasket are also delivering daily essentials such as milk, eggs, etc, though the areas being serviced are limited.

Remember, both Zomato and Swiggy are now delivering groceries and other essentials. (Image source: PTI)

Looks across stores for what you want

On apps like Grofers, Dunzo, Swiggy and Zomato, you can see the stores which are delivering close by and browse through their catalog to see what all products are available in each store. As I’ve experienced, it is best to go through most stores, rather than just one or two stores for the products you need.


The accuracy of the items being displayed will also depend on how accurate these stores are with their inventory and how often it is being updated on the app. You might find yourself ordering from several different stores because not everything will be available in one place.

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With Zomato Market, the app shows top categories when you go for grocery shopping, and I noticed that most of these are food-related categories. But essentials includes more than just food right now. Most homes need household cleaning items such as garbage bags, dishwashing liquid, etc, and even personal hygiene items, which are all essentials. Zomato also has individual categories for each store, and it would be best to tap on those to see what else the store is delivering.

On Swiggy you can browse each store via the category as well. With some stores, I noticed that Swiggy will let you make a list of items and submit it. This is similar to Dunzo where you can add a list of items for stores that are not shown in the list.

Online home delivery, Home delivery bigbasket, Home delivery grocery, Coronavirus lockdown, Coronavirus lockdown India, Zomato grocery, Swiggy grocery, Dunzo, How to use Dunzo, BigBasket delivery Check for slots, timings when placing orders. Some stores might be able to do a faster delivery. (Image of BigBasket website)

Timing matters, there are some other limits too

When ordering from stores, do check the timing and keep them in mind for future purchases. Some of the stores are opening for a very limited time period during the lockdown, and these might be the ones that stock some of your regular products. There are other stores, which are open till later and if you need something at the last minute, you might be able to get it.


I would say keep notifications on for some of these apps. Sometimes they will push out a notification if a new store joins them on the list and it could be worth checking out.

Keep in mind there are some limits that apps have also set on the amount of stuff you can order. With Zomato, it showed a limit of 10 kgs for an order, while Dunzo showed a limit of 10 items from a particular store. So there’s a chance you might not be able to do all your bulk buying in one go. Again it would be best to space out your requirements across stores.


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First published on: 14-04-2020 at 07:19:30 pm
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