The COVID-19 pandemic is still here and while there have been some strides in terms of vaccination, it’s without a doubt that we may still see lockdowns to protect citizens from the further spread of the virus until there’s a more permanent solution to this issue. For now, it’s recommended to stay home if we don’t have to go out and this is especially true for the elderly and those who are more likely to be infected. But this begs the question: ‘how do people get their groceries if it’s too risky to go out?’

The answer is by buying them online.

Now, this isn’t a new concept, albeit it’s one that’s become more popular and probably improved since the pandemic happened. But there may be some seniors who aren’t used to purchasing their food or household supplies online – this article was written as a guide to make them comfortable with this new situation.

First, what are the advantages of shopping for groceries online?
One very important one is that it can be safer than going out to purchase it in the brick-and-mortar stores where they will be other people. Sadly, it’s not always obvious when people are sick with COVID-19 as there may be asymptomatic carriers in public places. With the recommendation that seniors stay home if possible to avoid health risks, the option to do online grocery shopping can reduce exposure to possible coronavirus infections.

Convenience is another big plus for seniors, especially those with mobility issues, as they no longer need to travel to the store and juggle their heavy shopping packages home. Instead, they’ll just need a good internet connection, a smartphone or computer, and a means to pay which could be via credit or debit card, or cash on delivery (COD), then everything will be delivered to their doorstep.

Additionally, for those who want to do comparison shopping or even just shop from multiple places, it’s much easier to do both online. No need to visit several physical stores and roam the aisles for hours. Everything can be done by launching the stores’ apps or websites and taking note of item prices before making the final decision.

Now, how does one go grocery shopping online?
There are a number of supermarkets with convenient online shopping websites or apps, including Coles, Woolworth’s, and ALDI, among others. And while they may differ in the specifics, they generally function the same way.

First off, for those using a website, they must ensure that they’re using the official website. Once there, they can register or sign-up, if it’s their first time, or log in if they already have an account. To know if the website being used is secure, check the address bar if it has a small image of a padlock and the address begins with an “https://.” These will indicate that the data entered on the site is encrypted. For the apps, one must make sure it was downloaded from a trustworthy source and scan them with antivirus software.

Aside from entering the requisite information like name, address, date of birth, contact details (email and mobile number) and a password, site users will also need to choose their payment methods like online payment platforms or credit and debit cards.

For those concerned about online safety – which should be everyone, credit cards are typically viewed to be a safe way to transact online. There’s always a history of purchases, information is always entered securely, and merchants will always send confirmation e-mails for all transactions. That said, one should always confirm that the site they’re on is reliable and secure by doing the checks mentioned above. Paypal is also another option for those who prefer that platform. (For more on online safety, please read our previous article on the subject here.)

Once that is done, it’s a relatively straightforward process for most websites; shoppers can browse through the different categories of products (like grocery aisles) to look for the items they need. They can use keywords like brand names or product types on the search bar if they already know what they’re looking for. One can add items to their “cart” when they find what they need by clicking “Add to Cart” or “Add to Basket.” To view all the items they have in the virtual trolley, it’s just a matter of clicking the icon, usually on the top right of the website, and they’ll get the list of the items they’ve picked and a sub-total. From this page, they can also still edit the quantity of items or delete items if needed.

When ready to pay, one must click Checkout, where they may then choose a delivery date and time and enter a delivery address (if different from the address submitted earlier). Sometimes there will be a section where one can input additional instructions for the shopper or delivery driver (for instance, if the client wants certain items split up in different bags). With the pandemic, shops will also ask whether the client is in self-isolation or ill and if they prefer contactless delivery, to help keep everyone safe.

Once the purchase has been made, the only thing left is to wait for the items to be delivered! On that note, buyers should know that stores may have a minimum spend requirement for delivery in addition to the delivery fee. However, some shops may also waive delivery fees if the items reach a certain amount – it’s best to look into these beforehand.

Oh, and buyers may want to check for promos, specials, or “coupons” on the website and even shop’s official social media pages in case there are any they can use for their purchases.

Online grocery shopping is here to stay
It may seem daunting at first, with enough practice one can get used to shopping for groceries online and realise how convenient it really is. Of course, some people might miss going through the stacks and searching for items but given the current situation both in Australia and around the world, and the dangers of going to public places, this is the best option, especially for seniors and other high-risk individuals.

For now, to protect the elderly and vulnerable whilst allowing them to still get their daily needs, online grocery shopping is the most ideal solution and one we’re glad to have.

Do you or a senior love one assistance putting the groceries away and preparing meals?
Kalinga’s carers are experienced and well-trained in providing support to the elderly. They can assist day-to-day needs which seniors may need help with such as getting around the house, remembering to take medication, cooking meals, going shopping, or exercising, to name a few things. Kalinga is dedicated to making it easier for seniors to connect with caring, reliable, and skilled care providers.

Visit our website, download our apps or call us at +6143535222 to book a carer today! Stay safe, everyone!