Phew, what a busy week it has been! Long days with plenty on the to-do list, plus a crazy heatwave that sucks all energy out of you the second you step away from the aircon… With weeks like these I’m super-happy that my new best friends are there to help me through it all. They truly are a lifesaver. So here they are, my new besties – the online grocery stores!
Online grocery stores are nothing new, but at least for me the level of speed, choice and convenience of it all here in Shanghai is on a different level (with some exceptions of course). So far I’ve only tried two different ones, but there are plenty more on my list. Here are my experiences so far:
Fields is the shop I heard about the most even before I moved to Shanghai. They pop up on top of the search results too and have a user friendly English website and app, so naturally this ended up being the first one I tried. And I’m happy I did, I have been a satisfied returning customer for many weeks now. Here’s what to expect:
- What I like to order: fresh foods, fruit, veggies, frozen berries, imported things like pasta, pesto, milk, everyday groceries in general.
- High quality products mainly for a conscious consumer. Organic options on fruits, veggies and many other categories.
- Lots of imported products throughout the categories. Local products as well, but from carefully selected partners, so expect high-end local stuff.
- The price level is a bit higher than at “normal” supermarkets, but nothing too crazy.
- Free delivery on orders over 200 CNY and multiple delivery windows to choose from. Same day delivery if you order before 17:00 – how great is that! So far deliveries have been on time, and cold items have arrived cold, frozen items frozen and so on. I pay cash on delivery.
- All in all two thumbs up! However, I do wish they would include some of my favorite local products (such as WeiQuan orange juice) and have a bigger variety locally produced (i.e. reasonably priced) household items such as kitchen towels, laundry detergents etc.
Carrefour is an old player in China, catering mainly to the needs of locals, but also offering a pretty good variety of imported products making it popular among expats. They have multiple physical supermarkets around Shanghai, and a couple of months ago they launched their online shop and mobile app. Here’s what to expect from ordering online:
- What I like to get: bulk and household items such as toilet paper, kitchen towels, cleaning stuff, laundry detergent, hand soap, boxes of soda water, beer, coffee filters etc.
- There’s a pretty good variety of products, but I mainly stick to dry-goods and order a big batch of household staples once a month.
- Expect normal supermarket prices. Delivery fee depends on how much you buy and how much the total weight of your order is. My two orders have been 15-25 kg and 300-400 CNY per order, and both times the delivery was free. I pay cash on delivery.
- Delivery time – big problem. First of all, the offered delivery windows are incredibly inconvenient. Sometimes it’s a 6 hour window (e.g. between 8-14), and sometimes 12 hours (between 8-20). Who has time for that!? Second of all, they don’t stick to the delivery window of your choice. Ugh! The last time I ordered, I chose to have items delivered on Thursday between 8-20, and the goods showed up on Saturday! Luckily I had asked the reception at Fraser Residence (our current home) to accept the order on our behalf, so I didn’t waste time waiting. But still, very annoying. So I would definitely hesitate ordering from Carrefour if I didn’t have a reception, concierge, ayi or someone who will be around to accept the order whenever it shows up. Also, I don’t think I’ll be ordering fresh items or things that need to be in the cold until this delivery problem is fixed…
The following online grocery stores have also been recommended, but I haven’t had the chance to try just yet:
Recommended by many friends, Cityshop seems to have a great selection of local and imported food at reasonable prices. Good quality but nothing über-fancy. The wine selection looks really good too (now that I made that discovery I’ll definitely be placing an order in the coming days)! Free delivery for orders over 200 CNY, and same day delivery on orders placed before 15:00. I’m convinced!
Kate & Kimi
These guys are known for their focus on quality products and safe, healthy foods. Their main target is Shanghai expats, which is reflected in their great variety of products for a more Western taste and standard. I wanted to order from Kate & Kimi the other week, but their website happened to be down so I returned to good old reliable Fields. I will give K&K another shot soon, they seem to have a great reputation in the community so I’m sure it will be worth it.
And what do the pictures below have to do with online grocery stores? Well, absolutely nothing. They’re just snaps from our lovely stroll last night.