We Tried Three Grocery Pickup Services & Here's Why They're Worth It

After thinking about how many hours I spend a month in the grocery store, I decided it was time to maximize my time when it came to running errands. In an attempt to make grocery shopping something I can do in under an hour, I tried three grocery pickup services in Texas.

For each of these services, you'll have to order online through the internet using a computer, tablet, or mobile device. Although, you must shop in the Target mobile app to use their Drive Up service. Also, you must have a debit card or credit card ready when you checkout online. You cannot pay in-store.

grocery
Allison Johnson

I gave H-E-B Curbside Pickup, Walmart Grocery Pickup, and Target Drive Up a try. I have tried grocery delivery in the past, but after fees and tips, I decided a grocery pickup service would save me not only time but also money. Here's what I think about the online grocery services.

H-E-B Curbside

I've used H-E-B for online orders plenty of times already. As someone who loves H-E-B tortillas and numerous H-E-B products, it's no surprise that I love shopping at their store. As for online, I love it just as much. The H-E-B website is easy to navigate, and so is their app.

Before I start shopping, I get to choose a pickup slot convenient for me. I love going in the mornings, and I always find a pickup time before work. I often see online coupons while I create my shopping list. Their service offers fantastic scheduling, easy navigation, and coupons.

Although I'm a bit confused as to why there's a $4.95 pickup fee, many stores don't have service fees unless you're using delivery services. The products are already a bit marked up online, so I'm not sure why H-E-B has to charge so much.

I'll let it slide and will continue to use their service. I live close to my local store, which is very convenient, plus I've never had to struggle to find Curbside parking. H-E-B associates are always willing to put my groceries in my trunk, so I do enjoy the luxury of only having to pop the trunk once my grocery order is ready.

Overall, I love that I'm able to order perishable items. That's right, you can order produce and meat online.

Pros:

  • I live alone and don't care to go inside a grocery store by myself in the evenings, so pickup orders make me feel safe.
  • Not having to deal with traffic in the store is fantastic. Plus, pickups only take minutes.
  • No minimum purchase.
  • Bulky items are fine. (I've bought a Swiffer set without issues).
  • Send a text to let H-E-B know you're ready.

Target Drive Up

Target doesn't have a pickup fee or minimum purchase. I love it! Sometimes I don't want to run inside for five items. Target knows that and allows you to order groceries even if your bill is only $14.

If you're not familiar with the Target app, you might stray away from this service. It is easy to use, though. Download it. I promise you'll have a blast looking through Target Circle coupons.

You can use those coupons as you shop, so take advantage of it. Once you check out on the app, Target will let you know when your order is ready. This means there is no time slot. If you have no idea when you'll be able to get from work to the Target on the other side of town, no worries, Target will hold your order for three days.

Once you're ready to pick up, you will have to enable your location on your phone, so Target knows you're on the way. Target will need to scan your Target app barcode, so be sure your phone is charged before going to the store.

Pros:

  • Free store pickup.
  • No minimum order.
  • Three-day pickup window.

Cons:

  • No perishables.
  • Must use the Target app.

Walmart Pickup

Walmart also has a pickup service. Yes, it's completely free. I googled "Walmart grocery pickup first order coupon" and found one for $20 off your first order of $50 or more. The coupon is legit.

You can shop from the app or a desktop. I like using both. If I'm on the go, I'll use my phone. If I'm at home, I'll use my computer. Besides that, my biggest con is the minimum order. You must order at least $30 of groceries to use the service.

Again, sometimes I need a few pantry items to complete dinner. This isn't the service to use if you only need tomato sauce, spices, and noodles. I did have trouble finding parking at Walmart's Pickup parking lot.

What each service has in common are the 'substitution' picks. If you order an item and they're out of stock, you can give the store permission to pick out a similar product for the same price (or under). I'm a fan of this. I'm not too picky, so as long as I leave with what I needed, I'm fine.

Walmart does have a 1-hour time slot. I feel like this benefits them more than shoppers. If they're running behind on orders, they have quite the time to prepare. I'd hope if I ordered groceries for a 2 p.m.-3 p.m. slot that I wouldn't have to wait 45 minutes for my order.

Pros:

  • Free pickup.
  • Perishables are fine.

Cons:

  • Must have an order of at least $30

I do recommend delivery orders if you're willing to pay for service fees and tips. This can be pricy when it comes to $200 worth of groceries. If you're like me and always leave a good tip, you may find yourself second-guessing why you didn't save the money and run into the store yourself.

I have not had a good experience with Instacart in the past. My delivery was extremely late, so I canceled. I was told there weren't enough personal shoppers available. I've never had this problem with pickup services, so it looks like I'll be using them instead.

So which one is my favorite, and is it worth it? I'm going with H-E-B as my favorite. Only because I love their products, and because the store is close to me. Otherwise, I would choose Target for cheaper orders, and Walmart for bulk orders.

It's worth it to me. I love saving time and, of course, not having to leave my car. As I mentioned, safety does play a massive role for me. I'm not one to grocery shop alone after dark, so having the option to pick up groceries before or after work without leaving my car is fantastic.

If you have children or would like to send your teen driver out to run errands for you, I highly recommend using a grocery pickup service. Also, it's free to have an H-E-B, Target, or Walmart account. If you grocery shop on Amazon Prime, keep in mind that your account is not free.

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