The popularity of online ordering for supermarket home delivery of weekly groceries has skyrocketed since Coronavirus first hit Australia in early 2020. Frankly, I have no idea how many families who live in areas that have been in multiple extended lockdowns would have managed to get their food shopping done without supermarket home delivery, especially if they didn’t own a car.

Sure even during most lockdowns Aussies have been allowed to go to a supermarket and buy food there but that’s a risk that quite rightly many are not willing to take. In the case of my family, we never used online supermarket deliveries pre-Covid but after trying Coles and Woolworths a few times we realised even after life returns to kind of normal, supermarket delivery is much more convenient than going to a supermarket in person it’s totally worth spending a few dollars a week to gain the time saved.

Free delivery with no delivery subscription is possible if you order over a particular amount: $300 for Woolworth and $250 for Coles. Obviously this only works if you have a large fridge and possibly a chest freezer as well. Both supermarkets usually use big trucks with refrigerated sections but they also have the option of delivery via rideshare type cars eg: I’ve noticed Woolworths uses Drive Yello to cover smaller deliveries during times when their main trucks are booked out.

Woolies gives customers the choice of paying for a one off delivery, monthly or annual payments. The monthly and discounted annual plans each have two sub options, cheaper if you only get deliveries Tues, Wed, Thurs or a bit more expensive if you can choose “Delivery Unlimited Any Day” of the week or weekend.

At $169/year (cheaper for pensioners) my household finds the Woolies “Delivery Unlimited Any Day” best value at just over $3/week.

Coles also has the option of paying for one off deliveries or subscribing to unlimited deliveries but the price for Coles Plus is fixed at $19/month (adds up to $228/year) and there’s no annual prepayment to get a discount option.

For both supermarkets even if you subscribe you only get free delivery if your order is over $100. Also while it may seem like good value to choose cheaper one off delivery slots that are 6 hours long I found that when I did that the fridge/freezer items weren’t very cold upon delivery.

Woolworths delivers in thick recycled paper bags & they’re included in the delivery subscription fees.

Coles forces you to get your groceries in thick recycled plastic bags and you have to pay on top of the delivery subscription at 15c/plastic bag. This is obviously terrible for the environment if you get Coles deliveries weekly as you’ll soon be “drowning” in plastic bags far more than you can use. It’s also annoying having to pay extra for them.

Woolies allows per item notes on what substitutions are allowed if the item you want is out of stock. Coles is just a binary yes/no substitution per item which is less useful.

On the plus side for Coles, their subscription includes extra Flybuys points, free delivery on one Liquorland online order over $50 per month and rapid 90min Click n Collect at some stores, which would be handy outside of pandemic lockdown times.

Overall my view is that Woolworths offers a better service overall, with a wide variety of delivery pricing options, a better ordering system and environmentally friendly bags (we use ours to collect items for recycling). However, it’s good that both competitors already had online ordering and delivery systems setup because one alone wouldn’t have been able to deal with the load during Covid times.

If you’ve also been using online supermarket delivery services please let us know in the comments whether you prefer Coles or Woolworths.

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James

woolies is much better, test the returns/refunds for missing items. waiting 12 days for returns on coles. woolies is near instant

JeniSkunk

With Coles, refunds for missing items, which are listed in your Order Invoice, but were not received by you, is issued as a credit on your Coles Online account. That is handled via SMS. Missing items, whose lack of supply is accountable on the Invoice, do not receive any credit. Refunds for faulty items received, those are issued as a credit on your Coles Online account. That is handled by SMS. Disposal of the faulty items is up to you. Both the unaccountable missing items and the faulty items, are dealt with the same day as the SMS are sent.… Read more »

Astrid Zeneca

My preferred store is Woolies however there’s certain brands and foods I buy regularly that only Coles stocks. Apart from that, I’ve tried so hard to use Woolies online for shops but I find that most of the time they are out of stock of the things I want to buy. One thing you didn’t cover in your review is ease of use of the website. A great feature that Coles has that Woolies doesn’t is the ‘Bought Before’ section. It’s a tab at the top which shows you everything that you have bought on previous shops. It’s so handy… Read more »

JeniSkunk

Not using Woolies online store, I had no idea they did not automatically maintain a Bought Before list for all customers. That list is something I heavily rely on for quickly getting the items which show up on every shopping list of mine.

The ‘collect your plastic bags’ feature of Coles, is only recent, only been there for the past few months.

Stock levels have been all over the place since COVID. It seems, though, from what you say, Woolies are having more trouble maintaining stock levels for online shopping.

JeniSkunk

I’ve had to heavily rely on home delivery for groceries, since an injury in late 2013 landed me in hospital and then rehab, and since early 2014 I’ve been using a wheelie walker and walking stick to get around. I shop online with Coles, as my local, accessible, shopping centre, Toombul Shoppingtown, only has Coles. So anything I can’t get online, I can, usually, get in person. In your review, Neerav, there’s a negative aspect of Coles Online grocery shopping you failed to note. The order in which items are put in the Coles bags when the order is prepared… Read more »

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