Buying groceries on line is simple and can save you money, time and inconvenience. You can do your shopping at a time to suit you, and put just a few items into your shopping trolley when you have a spare minute or two if you want to. You can always see how much all your items cost and it is easy to take things in and out of your shopping trolley at any time. Nor are you so likely to be tempted by those impulse buys!
No more tiring shopping trips, battling supermarket crowds and waiting in long check-out queues with heavy bags to carry home. An added benefit, once you become a regular online shopper, is that many stores keep your usual items on a shelf especially for you so that you can go straight to them.
In this guide you’ll learn how to find your way around an online store, choose your groceries and place your first order.
We’re going to use Sainsbury’s as an example of this kind of site. However, all the major grocery stores including Tesco and Asda, and many independents have sites that work in the same sort of way that you can also use.
a computer with an internet connection
a shopping list if you use one
a debit or credit card for payment.
This guide is based on a PC running Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 8, but the steps in this process are very similar for Mac users or if you’re using a different browser.
Follow these step-by-step instructions to buy groceries online
Step 1: Go to Sainsbury’s (clicking this link will open the Sainsbury’s website in a new window).
Step 2: The Sainsbury’s home page will be displayed. At the top right-hand side of the screen you’ll see a link to ‘Groceries’. Hover your mouse pointer over any of the words or the picture and click when the pointer changes from an arrow to a hand.
Step 3: To make sure that Sainsbury’s are able to deliver to you, enter your postcode into the box on the top right-hand side and click Check postcode. If Sainsbury’s aren’t currently delivering to your area, there is an option to leave your details so that they can let you know ‘as soon as we offer the service near you’. If all is well, move on to Step 4.
Step 4: You’ll arrive at the ‘Good news’ screen. Click on Continue Shopping.
Step 5: Before you start to shop, click book now to book your delivery time. That way you’ll see the full range of products and offers available on your delivery day. Free delivery is available on orders over £100 on Tuesdays Wednesdays and Thursdays. Otherwise there is a charge.
Step 6: Choose your delivery date and time and click on it to select. When it is confirmed, click Continue to move to the next screen.
Step 7: In the menu at the top, beneath the ‘Groceries’ tab you’ll see tabs similar to different aisles of a conventional store, Fresh & bakery, Frozen, Food cupboard, etc. You’ll also see a Search window in the top right-hand side of the screen.
Step 8: If you know what you’re looking for, you can refine your search by typing key words into the ‘Search’ field and then clicking Go to be taken straight to matching items. (You do have to be careful with your spelling though.) Your options will be displayed, together with some recipes. If you’re happy to shop in this way, skip to Step 11 of this guide. Otherwise move on now to Step 9.
Step 9: Click on a tab from the ‘Groceries’ menu. You’ll move through a series of menus where you can click to further refine your search, in our example from ‘Fresh & Bakery’ to ‘Vegetables’ to ‘Green Veg’ to different varieties of green veg.
Step 10: Click on one of the options in the final menu (in our case Brussels Sprouts) to be taken to the product selection available.
Step 11: Click on any item that interests you to find out much more about the product including dietary information, nutrition and packaging.
Step 12: If you decide against the item, click any tab to view other products. If you like what you see, simply click Add. Doing this will save the details of this item until you’re ready to go to the checkout, just as if you’d put a product into your shopping trolley.
(For loose items, you can choose to buy in multiples of a ‘kilo’ or by number of items so make sure you click into the right radio button first to choose.)
Step 13: If you want more than one item, simply click Add the required amount of times. If you return later to an item that you’ve already put in your trolley, you’re reminded of this beneath the ‘Add’ button. To take advantage of any special offers, put the right number of products into your basket, for example put two items in your basket for a ‘buy one get one free’ offer.
Step 14: You’ll see the item(s) and the current sub-total appear in My trolley on the right-hand side of your screen. This is where you can most easily make changes to the quantities you’ve selected by clicking on +, – or the dustbin alongside each item. As you change the quantities you’ll see the price Total change. After adding each item to your trolley you can click to choose to Empty trolley, Save trolley, or Checkout. If you click Save trolley at any time, the contents will be kept ready for you, even for a different visit. For security reasons, your session times out if you go away for more than 15 minutes and you have to log in again to carry on shopping. As you haven’t yet set up your account, you’ll need to Register (Step 17) if you want to leave the site before you’ve finished shopping.
Step 15: Click on any of the tabs to look for other items, repeating Steps 9-13 until you’ve everything you need in your shopping trolley.
Step 16: When you are ready, click on Checkout which will bring you to a registration screen.
Step 17: Click on Register to proceed. Before entering any personal or payment information online, always check that the website is secure. This is indicated by a yellow padlock icon at the top of the screen and a website address that starts with ‘https://’ (the ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’). Always take the utmost care to ensure your online safety.
Step 18: You’ll be asked to enter your name and email address twice to check for accuracy, and a password. Be very careful to choose a safe password. You then need to choose a secret question from a drop-down menu and type in an answer. Finally, you need to tick to agree to Sainsbury’s terms and conditions (which you can read by clicking on the link next to the check box), choose whether or not to receive information from them, and select from a drop-down menu to say where you heard about Sainsbury’s. (You must fill in all this information, but don’t worry, if you miss an item you’ll be prompted and not allowed to go further until you’ve completed the page.) When you’ve done this, click on Register to move on.
Step 19: This screen confirms your registration and asks you whether you would like to explore your ‘My account’ section or ‘Return’. Click Return. If you want to change any of your registration details later, just click my account on the home page and follow the instructions.
Step 20: You now need to enter your delivery address, which you can either select from the drop-down menu and then clicking on Go, or type in; your billing address, which can be the same or different, and is completed in the same way and at least one contact phone number. If you choose to enter your Nectar card details you’ll be able to find all your regular grocery items under ‘my usuals’ 48 hours later. When you’ve completed all details click Continue to checkout.
Step 21: When you’re ready, click Continue. The next screen will summarise your order, ask you to confirm whether or not you would like Sainsbury’s staff to include alternatives for any products that aren’t available at the time of delivery and add any details of e-vouchers or discount codes.
Step 22: You now need to enter your credit or debit card details, making sure that you read the ‘Total cost information and discounts’ information at the bottom of the screen before proceeding to the next step.
Step 23: If you’re happy with everything, click Send order. You’ll be charged for your shopping on the day of your delivery.
At this point, if you’ve signed up for 3-D Secure – an added layer of security for online credit and debit card transactions – such as Visa’s ‘Verified by Visa’ and MasterCard’s ‘SecureCode’, you might be asked for another password. Enter this as required.
Your order will start to be processed when you’ve entered your payment information successfully and you should see a confirmation message on screen. You should also receive an order confirmation email.
You can change your order up to 11pm the evening before your delivery is scheduled. Make sure you checkout again once you’re done.
Jacklyn Williams is a Digital Unite tutor based in the South West.