COVID-19 leads to online grocery order surge, tips for shoppers

PITTSBURG, Kan. – A lot of people are trying to skip the check out line at grocery stores, going online to get what they need, but some people are giving up in frustration, tired of waiting for time slot availability.

​“The big Walmart, we got kicked out of their website a bunch of times just due to high traffic so we decided to come to Ron’s, but then it’s kinda nice to come and pick out your own produce versus having someone do it for you,” said Sydney Tracy, a shopper in Pittsburg.

While Sydney is enjoying the outing, she misses the convenience and the peace of mind that comes from ordering from home.

“It’s nice to just go and have somebody load it in your car for you and kinda just keep your hands clean of everything especially when it’s like during this scary time.”

She’s not the only one that feels that way. Ron’s Supermarket is seeing a huge shift in orders for pick-up and delivery.

“We’re doing about 20 times what we were doing prior to this crisis, but we’re keeping up. We’ve shifted a lot of employees over from their normal check stand duties or other departments and they’re learning how to pick orders,” explained Tim Rhodes, manager of Ron’s Supermarket.

Whether you’re shopping online or in store, a lot of items are out of stock. Rhodes says the best remedy for that is patience and planning.

“The best time to get an online order in would be Monday, Wednesday or Friday after about 12 p.m. We get our trucks in on those days. It allows us to, if there is paper on their order or baking, to fill those. The best thing to do is to call in at least two days before you need groceries so we can make sure we get you taken care of,” said Rhodes.

No matter how you shop, Ron’s is taking extra precautions to keep customers safe, something Sydney appreciates.

“There’s wipes everywhere, there’s hand sanitzer everywhere, you know in uncertain scary times, it means a lot for people to risk their own lives to help us so we can better ourselves and be able to come to the grocery store everyday.”

Ron’s offers delivery in Pittsburg and Frontenac Monday – Friday.

It also offers delivery to Arma residents on Thursdays.

People without internet access can call Ron’s and leave a call-back number. An employee will take your order over the phone which you can then schedule for pick-up or delivery.

Other Online Ordering Tips From InstaCart:

  1. Check delivery times frequently. Due to heightened customer demand, available delivery windows may fluctuate throughout the day. Our teams are working around the clock to ensure availability, and we encourage customers to check available delivery times frequently in the app.

  2. Choose preferred replacements & be available for shopper questions. During this busy time, retailers are experiencing elevated demand for certain items. Help your shopper get what you need by remaining flexible and choosing replacement options for everything on your list. While your shopper is shopping your order, be ready to respond to questions she or he may have about replacement options by using our in-app chat functionality.

  3. Plan ahead. Take frequent inventory of your fresh foods, pantry staples and household essentials, and place your orders in advance of running out of key essentials.

  4. Send groceries to a loved one. As an Instacart customer, you can send groceries to friends or family members, even if they’re across the country. It’s easy to give the gift of groceries to someone else — simply input their zip code, choose their local store, fill up your cart with the items they need, place and pay for their order to be delivered to their home. You can even track replacements, chat with their shopper directly from the store, and help notify them when their groceries have arrived. If you think your recipient would prefer to manage their own order, you can also send them a virtual Instacart gift card here.

  5. Use a group cart. With Instacart’s group carts, you can invite a friend or loved one to join your cart, work together to add the items they need, and ship them directly to their preferred address. Families in the same household can make sure everyone orders the items they want, or you can help a relative in another state add all the items they need and navigate the checkout and delivery process for them. It’s a great way to help someone with their grocery order, no matter how far away they are. You can create a new group cart by clicking “My Carts” in the upper right corner of your Instacart account→ “My Carts” → “Create a group cart.”

  6. Share our how-to video with friends & family. Grocery delivery can be a much-needed help especially during this time, and we want to make it as easy as possible for new customers to learn how to use Instacart. We developed a how-to video to make it easy for anyone to learn how to use Instacart to buy their groceries and schedule their delivery. Feel free to share this video with a family member, colleague, grandparent, or friend.

  7. Say thank you to your shopper. Over the last few weeks, the Instacart shopper community has served as household heroes for families nationwide. When you order, please consider tipping above and beyond to reflect the extra effort of your shopper.