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I have a Sainsbury's store less than 2 minutes walk from my home but I've been using sainsburys.co.uk (which is listed here as sainsburys.com for some reason - it's the same site by the way) for grocery shopping for about 12 months now. Why order online when there's a store so close, you might ask? Well that's because basically about once a month I order items for the office such as can drinks, tea, coffee, cereals, fruit, dishwasher supplies, cleaning products, etc. When I'm ordering 20 boxes of cereal and 100s of can of soft drinks and tea and coffee in bulk, I'm certainly not going to be able to carry all that myself when we can have it delivered straight to our office kitchen!
The site itself is very ORANGE obviously to go with their Sainsbury's logo which itself is orange, I try not to concentrate on the fact that there is just SO much orange on my screen when I log into the site.
It's very easy to navigate the site and I find the pages refresh very quickly and to date I've never experienced delays in page changes or hiccups with payment processing.
It's fairly easy to set up an account with the site and once you do so, all you need is your username and password to get into the site each time you want to place an order. I trust Sainsbury's with my credit card details so I leave them stored there for easy payment and quicker checkout and have not encountered any issues with this to date.
The home page is quite well organised - once you're logged in you can choose from tabs such as "food & drink", "home & garden", "Finance", "More stores", etc. I'm not going to list all the tabs as you can just go along to http://www.sainsburys.co.uk quite easily to see for yourself. Usually half way down the page on the home page is the "Latest from Sainsbury's" with special offers which might be of interest.
Below the offers section you have things like "online community" where you can share recipes and ideas with guess who? Yes, their online community! There's also a recipe and tip finder and store locator as well as a link to their spiel about their corporate responsibility as a responsible retailer. Personally I'm not very good at following other people's recipes but there are some interesting recipes available which some shoppers will find really valuable.
Sainsbury's charges £4.95 for standard delivery between Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 18:00 but they don't deliver on public holidays. They do a next day delivery on a few products which costs £6.95. If your order is over £40 but under £100 there are variable rates between £3.50 and £5.50 which are listed on the site when you actually place the order. I usually order items totalling well over £100 so am entitled to free delivery (for £100 or more in order value) on Tuesdays - Thursdays. You can even pick your time slot to the nearest hour for delivery. Once my delivery was 5 minutes after the time slot which I had requested and I was given a £10 voucher for the delay which was quite nice considering I was in the office all day anyway and 5 minutes made no difference to me either way. I used the voucher with my next order and had no problems with processing the code on the voucher.
Although the website says the delivery drivers will only deliver your order to the ground floor of the building if you are having your items to an office block, the drivers have always brought our order up in the lift and delivered them to our kitchen.
When you first order from the site you can browse products in various ways, either by departments or just by typing into the search box and clicking "Go". I find using the search box the easiest way to source what I need as I can just type in "diet coke" or "bananas" and the results will be narrowed down to the results I need quickly rather than searching by department by clicking "Food & drink", then Groceries, then choosing from options such as Fresh food, Bakery, Frozen, Drinks, Baby, etc.
You might be confused with some of the special offers when you add items to your trolley initially as it might say a product is on offer at half price or 30% off - as you enter the number of items you want they will appear in a shopping trolley to the right of the screen but with the original price, so it seems as if the discount hasn't been applied even though it will say beneath the product that it's on offer and the offer price. The discount doesn't get applied until you get to the checkout stage so this can be a bit confusing. As someone who uses the site regularly I know it will apply the discount but it can be disconcerting and I always make sure I order enough items so that the total will be well over £100 when the discount is applied. For example, on a recent order my total was showing as £183 until I went to checkout and then it came to about £145.
One thing you might need to be aware of is the substitute option. If Sainsbury's don't have the exact item you order in stock they can substitute it with other items. Until recently I left this option checked so they could substitute items out of stock but they did some silly substitutions so I changed the settings so that they will supply the exact items on the order.
You might think having items substituted is not a big deal but let me explain: I ordered several 6 packs of diet lemonade and several 6 packs of regular lemonade, and they didn't have the diet, so they substituted the diet for regular lemonade which made no sense. Why would they replace an item with another item which I've already got in the order anyway? They did the same thing with something else which was similar, a diet product substituted with a non diet product so I sent them back on all occasions explaining that I didn't need so many of the non-diet as I'd already ordered those anyway. It really is helpful to me as a customer that I can easily see what I ordered last time so I can quickly add the same items to my shopping trolley. When placing an order you can click on "My usuals" and choose from:
Usuals by aisle
Usuals as single list
It's extremely convenient that this feature is available (although I'm assuming other major supermarkets would have a similar feature) as it saves me a lot of time when placing orders. It's also worth mentioning that it's very easy to delete items from your shopping trolley if you've added them in error, you just need to click the dustbin icon beside the item in the shopping trolley. When placing your first order you can insert your Nectar Card number for your rewards to be allocated to which will be remembered for future orders.
A slight niggle I have with the ordering process is that when I print out the order once it's been placed for my records, it prints not only the order but several pages worth of adverts too which is a tad annoying as it's a waste of paper. The "print order" option should just print the order and not the adverts on the screen - most recently I printed my order which should have been 1 page but 6 pages came out in total.
Whenever I've sent products back a refund has been issued very quickly to my card and an email sent to confirm them to my registered email address. I've even had phone calls from the supervisor at the branch where the items are packed who apologised for the substitutions and advised me of the "no substitutions" option and she also kindly said she would make a point of double checking our future orders.
The delivery drivers (a different one each time it seems) are always polite and cheerful and make sure I'm happy with the order before rushing off. Any time we've had frozen items; these have been packed in separate bags and unloaded first. Any substituted items are clearly pointed out and not once when items were sent back was I made to feel a nuisance for doing so. I really do have to compliment the delivery staff and customer service staff that I've dealt with over the telephone as providing a first class service.
OTHER SITE INFO
There are various other areas to explore on the Sainsbury's website such as information about returns policy, buying guides, recruitment, graduates, Active Kids, etc. There is also "More stores" from where you can choose from things like Electricity & gas, Business gifts, Broadband, etc.
If you click on Sitemap at the very bottom of the screen you are taken to a textual page from where you can see at a glance all the different links and their sub-categories that are available on the site.
Overall I would rate my satisfaction with using sainsburys.co.uk for online ordering as a strong 4.5 out of 5. It's definitely a site I intend to continue using for a long time to come.