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Updated this a couple of times now! Updates at the bottom!
Having moved house in Summer, I was fairly keen to get to grips with this online grocery shopping lark. And I think Sainsbury's is a fantastic place to shop in - so much easier than "roughing it" at Tesco!
So I registered with the site at www.sainsburystoyou.co.uk - which was painless. A few details such as name, address, email and Reward Card number (now Nectar card) and I was away, with my very own online shopping account.
Seems then I let it slip my mind. Until I received an email from Sainsbury's offering me £50 free shopping if I did just three £50 shops with them.
We thought this was fantastic value, and set about putting together our first order.
Items on Sainsbury's To You are arranged in the same "aisles" you will find in a Sainsbury's store. Pretty much everything instore is also online, and the prices are exactly the same - as are the weekly offers.
Offers in Sainsbury's generally get changed on a Tuesday (in my region anyway, this may differ across the country - keep an eye on the "offer end" details printed on the end of aisles in your local Sainsbury's and I'm sure you'll be able to work out when they start and end).
When you go online and log in, you are first asked to book yourself a delivery slot. These are extremely convenient as you can see what is available at a glance. The delivery slots are two hours long, and range from morning, to afternoon and even late evening.
At the time, Sainsbury's were offering free delivery (normally £5) for orders delivered on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, so we were able to get the shopping in for exactly the same price without having to lug it all back from the local store.
Finding all your regular items is a bit of a chore to start with - however you soon get used to the layout. Many items, and all Sainsbury's own brand products have additional information available, which is great for those with special dietary needs.
If you register your Nectar card, the system pulls in all your normal product choices (including those bought in store!) and places them at the top of the lists to make them easier to find. This is a real time saver, if a little strange to see the site listing your purchases from the last few months! Very spooky, but again, incredibly useful!
You can also go through previous orders with Sainsbury's to you and select items for your next delivery. This is again a real time saver and sooooo convenient, as you probably buy a lot of the same things over and over again (ie. your particular brand of bread or your favourite wines!)
If you can't find what you're looking for in the aisles - the search is particuarly good. Type in a brand name and it will find it, from Marmite to Colgate - it's all there.
Like offers? Don't we all. Not only are all the same offers as in-store there, but you can even browse just the offers to find out what's on buy one, get one free, what's got money off and what's got extra Nectar points.
Sainsbury's got a bit of bad press because when they first started out with online shopping they made a few mistakes. Any problems have certainly been sorted out now - I would go so far as to say they are hellbent on getting it right - from the ordering to the delivery.
The deliveries come in special refrigerated vans which run on dual fuel so are very environmentally sound. This has the added bonus of delivering frozen products frozen (no thawing in the car or on the bus) and they will even deliver your wine and beer chilled (there's an option alongside these items). Thus when delivered you can stick them straight in the fridge or freezer - and this will actually save you money on electricity.
If like me you wait for them to bring you beer - it's delivered chilled!! How convenient!!
** they seem to have run out of room in the fridge! They no longer give this option, though to be fair the whole van is pretty cool so it's fairly cold when you get it!
Additionally, they have taken the service element to new heights. The delivery drivers aren't your normal drop it and leave affair, oh no. THIS IS SAINSBURYS! They patiently explain how STY works, are extremely polite and helpful and carry all your stuff to your door. Fabulous!
Occasionally, something is out of stock. When this happens, they will endeveour to bring you a similar item, and you always have the right to send it back if it's not right - either by handing it straight back to the driver, or taking it to your nearest store.
Once they didn't have my girlfriend's shampoo, so brought the same brand but different price. She'd rather not have it so they took it back, and immediately refunded my credit card!!
Fantastic!! The £50 voucher arrived (it was delayed a bit, I complained, they said sorry and gave me an additional 1000 reward points for the delay!)
Now I've used the service, I'm a regular. The only gripe I have is that they seem to have stopped delivering 24 packs of lager! Damn! I have to order 2 12's instead!!
Change your mind before they deliver? No problem, just log back in and you can amend or cancel your order up until 9pm the day before delivery!
Can't recommend them enough - oh, and in case you were wondering, they even deliver you petrol vouchers, just like you get in store!
They delivered today, 45 mins late, though to be fair they did phone up (constantly) to update on progress, and considering that my house is extremely hard to find and it was dark, I'm impressed the driver didn't just give up - especially considering how lost he'd got! Unfortunately a bottle of red wine (Californian Merlot - £4.99 in case you're interested!) smashed all over some of the products, and I ended up with wine on the doormat (though managed to keep it away from everything else!).
In true style, the driver was extremely apologetic and has arranged an immediate refund. I will email them about the doormat, because it really should be replaced. I have no doubt that they will do the decent thing and get it changed - and although today's experience wasn't great, this hasn't put me off - generally speaking I find this service fantastic, and Sainsbury's remain number one!
** They decided on the first phone call to credit £10 worth of nectar points in respect of the doormat, which considering it was a ropey old thing and not that damaged seemed generous!
Well, well well..... there have been mighty problems recently with items not being in stock, but here I have to say they have been really good about choosing sensible substitutes. In one case, they delivered a ready meal that was twice the size as the one ordered -- but three times as nice! Now we can't stop ordering what was substituted instead! Yum! (In case you are wondering, it's the sainsbury's penne and meatballs at £3.99 --- it's massive - easily enough for two! - and delicious!)
The time-slots system has been improved - now you can book the HOUR you want your delivery - and if they mess up (they haven't yet, unfortunately) they give you £10 on the spot!
As we now have a cat, it's great to have them bring the really heavy stuff around. Cat Litter (14kg x 2), a month's worth of food (stick it in the garage!), an anvil..... you get the picture.
** Update: Get £10 off your next shop until 16th March 2006 - enter this code: BKAE-DTES-J86P **