Instacart vs. Cub’s Website

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For the past year I’ve been using Instacart’s website to shop at our local Cub grocery store. When I picked up my last order, the store included an advertisement for their own shopping website. They described it as “Our new pickup & delivery experience!”. I am mostly satisfied with Instacart, but the new website offered several features that Instacart doesn’t have. Free pickup (for orders over $50), fuel rewards, and digital coupons for rewards card members. The Instacart pickup fee is only $1.99 and sometimes free, so that wasn’t a big deal. The fuel rewards are 10 cents per gallon for each $100 dollars spent. This could potentially save a few dollars on gas each month. The digital coupons you have to select in advance, but they can save a few dollars, if you can find any available for the items you need. So, for my next grocery order, I thought I’d give the new Cub website a try.

After creating a new password for the Cub shopping website and linking my Cub Rewards account, I was ready to shop. The first thing I noticed was that I couldn’t shop for only sale items. They were mixed in with the other items in each category. If I clicked on an item, I wasn’t able to see alternative items like on the Instacart site. The new site also didn’t allow me to select alternate items. It only had a checkbox to allow an alternate and a textbox where I assume you could type in an alternate. It took twice as long to shop on the new site because I had to search for several items that were easier to find on the Instacart site. I was finally ready to reserve a pickup time and checkout. Payment is made through a 3rd party payment site. Later in the day I decided to make a change to the order. The website asked for the payment information again. It didn’t remember my payment information like on the Instacart site.

On the day the order was due for pickup, I received a text message saying that they were starting to pick my order and asking about a substitution. I responded with my preference and received a text acknowledgment. I thought there would be other questions, but none came. It was getting close to the pickup time, so I checked my email and that’s where I found confirmation that the order was ready. I drove to the store and texted that I was there. The Instacart site has a fancy graphic that pops up on your phone showing you progress as they get the order ready to bring out to your vehicle. Most of my complaints are about the usability of the new website as compared to the Instacart site. I imagine there is a cost incentive for a grocery store to have their own online shopping website rather than paying Instacart’s fee. Not sure if the benefits to me are worth using the new site again, until they make a few improvements to be more like Instacart.

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