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From Aisle to URL: Which Online Supermarket is best for You?

Reading Time: 5 min

In the digital age, online supermarkets have revolutionized the way we shop for groceries. With just a few clicks, we can order fresh produce, pantry staples, and even household items to be delivered right to our doorstep. But with so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to know which online supermarket is the best fit for you. In this blog post, I’ll compare three popular online supermarkets – each with its own unique strengths and weaknesses – to help you make an informed decision on where to do your virtual grocery shopping. So, whether you’re looking for convenience, affordability, or quality, keep reading to find out which of these online supermarkets comes out on top. [In this blog post, I will be comparing the three online supermarkets that I visit the most frequently. These supermarkets are Cargills Food City, Keells Super, and SPAR Sri Lanka.]

Cargills Food City

Cargills Food City is the oldest supermarket chain in Sri Lanka. Surprisingly, they did not have an online store until the COVID-19 pandemic forced the country into lockdown in 2020. Despite this, my favourite online supermarket is now Cargills Food City for some very attractive reasons that are given below.

  • Flexible Delivery Schedule: Cargills Food City offers delivery services six days a week, with three delivery slots available per day. These slots are scheduled for 08:00 AM-12:00 PM, 12:00 PM-04:00 PM, and 04:00 PM-08:00 PM. Same-day delivery and store pickup options are also available. However, the one-hour delivery option for smaller baskets is currently malfunctioning.
  • Flexible Payment Options: You have the option to pay for your order using a credit or debit card, and Cargills Food City accepts Visa, Master Card, and American Express cards. Additionally, you can choose to pay with cash upon delivery or by card upon delivery. If you change your mind before the order is confirmed, you can easily cancel it with just one click.
  • Flexible Tracking Options: Once your order is out for delivery, you can track the location of the delivery truck in real time. This is very convenient because I can track the delivery and know when it will arrive. It’s essential since I live alone and want to be home when the order arrives.
  • Cross-Device Compatibility: Typically, I make my orders online using the website. However, if you prefer to use your smart device like an iPhone or iPad, Cargills Food City has developed apps for both Android and iOS devices. You can download the Android app by clicking here and the iOS app by clicking here.
  • Intuitive User Interface: When you place an order using the website, you only need to follow five steps, or six steps if you pay with your credit card online. This is especially helpful if you are not familiar with the technology. In contrast, SPAR Sri Lanka has more than ten steps to place an order.

Although Cargills Food City has many good features, it is not without its flaws. One issue is that the delivery crew uses small but noisy trucks, which can be disruptive to the neighbourhood. Therefore, it’s best to avoid requesting early morning weekend deliveries if you don’t want to wake up your neighbours.

Keells Super

Despite being the second oldest supermarket chain in Sri Lanka, Keells Super was the first supermarket chain to launch an online store. However, it did not gain much attention until the country experienced lockdowns due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Below are the reasons why Keells Super is my second favourite.

  • Rigid Delivery Schedule: Unlike Cargills Food City you can only choose up to three specific days of the week for delivery. There is only one time slot available (5 PM – 8 PM), which is not very convenient. This is an issue because rigid delivery schedules always seem to conflict with my schedule.
  • Rigid Payment Methods: I used the term “payment methods” instead of “payment options,” because there are no other options available. The only way to pay is online with a credit or debit card. This could be a significant inconvenience, especially if you are uncomfortable making online payments with your card.
  • No Realtime Tracking: Keells Super does not provide GPS-enabled real-time tracking of your orders, unlike Cargills Food City. Additionally, there is the possibility that the delivery team may deliver your order much earlier or later than the time slot you had chosen during checkout, which can make matters a bit challenging.

Despite the aforementioned drawbacks, it doesn’t mean that you should avoid using Keells Super altogether. In fact, some positive features make it a worthwhile option. For instance, unlike Cargills Food City and SPAR Sri Lanka which require a minimum order value of Rs. 2,000/-, Keells Super has no such requirement. Additionally, if you change your mind before confirming the order, you can cancel it with just one click. Moreover, there is a smartphone app available for both Android and iOS devices.

SPAR Sri Lanka

SPAR Sri Lanka is a franchise of the Dutch multinational retail chain, SPAR International. They also offer a selection of international products to cater to the diverse needs of customers in addition to many local products. However, the undermentioned reasons make SPAR Sri Lanka to be my least favourite online supermarket regardless of its global establishment.

  • Poor UI and UX Design: I was unable to complete my test order because I hadn’t entered my postal code for verification. It’s inconvenient to have to look up the postal code every time I want to make a purchase. Surprisingly, the order process requires more than 10 steps to be completed.
  • Rigid Cancellation Process: Cargills Food City and Keells Super both allow you to cancel your order easily by just clicking a button. However, if you shop with SPAR Sri Lanka, you need to contact their customer support team via their online chatbot to cancel your order. Cancelling an order should be a straightforward and uncomplicated process, especially when you are shopping with a popular and well-known supermarket chain that operates globally.
  • No Smartphone App: SPAR Sri Lanka, despite being a part of a well-known global supermarket chain, doesn’t offer a smartphone application. This absence of an app is a significant disadvantage because it limits the mobility of their online store, making it impossible for customers to place orders while on the move.
  • Ridiculous Restrictions: I placed an order for a test and I ordered two bottles of Coca-Cola, each of which had a volume of two litres, one bottle of Sprite with a volume of 1.5 litres, and small quantities of Carrot, Raw Ginger, Green Chilli, Garlic, and Big Onions. Additionally, I ordered one packet of Prima Chicken Sausages that weighed 500 grams. However, when I selected the option for store pickup, my shopping cart displayed a message saying that pickup was not available for the items that I had selected.

Although there are some drawbacks to using SPAR Sri Lanka, it does not necessarily mean that you should completely avoid using it. In fact, some positive aspects of the service make it a worthwhile option. For example, similar to Cargills Food City, SPAR Sri Lanka also offers Cash on Delivery and Card on Delivery as payment options, in addition to paying with a card during checkout. Although they only offer delivery twice a day (8:30 AM – 11 AM and 4 PM – 7 PM), you can choose to have your order delivered on any day of the month, and same-day delivery is also available.

Wrap Up

In conclusion, online supermarkets have made grocery shopping easier and more convenient in today’s digital age. This blog post compared three popular online supermarkets in Sri Lanka: Cargills Food City, Keells Super, and SPAR Sri Lanka. Based on the analysis, Cargills Food City emerged as the best option due to its flexible delivery schedule, multiple payment options, tracking options, cross-device compatibility, and intuitive user interface. Keells Super, on the other hand, had some drawbacks, such as a rigid delivery schedule, only online payment options, and no real-time tracking, but it was still a viable option due to no minimum order requirement and a smartphone app available for both Android and iOS devices. Finally, SPAR Sri Lanka fell short in terms of poor UI/UX design, a rigid cancellation process, and more than ten steps required to place an order.

If you found this content helpful, I kindly ask you to leave your feedback in the comments section below. Sharing it on social media would also be greatly appreciated. In order to promote meaningful and respectful dialogue, I request that you use your full name when commenting. Please note that any comments containing profanity, name-calling, or a disrespectful tone will be deleted. Thank you for your understanding and participation.

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