Shopping apps revolutionize traditional grocery shopping

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Grocery stores are undergoing some of their biggest changes since they opened in the 1940's. Online grocery shopping is also revolutionizing how we spend our valuable time.

Erin Johnson is checking a weekly chore off of her to-do list, permanently.

"I just didn't have time to make it to the store anymore and on my list of priorities, the grocery store was falling to the bottom," Erin said.

Erin no longer drags her four kids to shop for an hour. Instead, she is part of a digital revolution and pays for her new-found freedom.

Now, she spends just ten minutes choosing groceries on an app and has them delivered by a personal shopper.

The Food Marketing Institute follows retail trends.

The group says digital grocery shopping is now the fastest growing segment in retail, with 43 percent of millennials surveyed saying they shop online for groceries at least occasionally.

That's a 50 percent jump from 2016. And in as few as five to seven years, 70 percent of consumers will grocery shop online.

"It's so convenient, how can you not? So, I use it quite a bit," said Paula Ellerbrock, a Kroger ClickList customer.

Competition is fierce in the local digital grocery game right now, with Costco, Walmart, Meijer and Kroger offering online shopping.

"I just don't enjoy grocery shopping and the grocery cart and the crowds," said Ellerbrock.

Customers order groceries on the Kroger app and pick them up at the store. Orders are $5 and most can be picked up the same day. Your first three orders are free.

"Five bucks a time? I think that's reasonable," said Ellerbrock.

The downside is customers can't communicate or add anything after submitting the order and they must rely on the shopper to pick any substitutions for out of stock items.

Meijer goes a step further.

Using the Shipt app, customers order and text directly with a personal shopper. Groceries are then delivered right to their front door in as little as two hours.

This service costs about $100 a year or $14.95 a month. Check the Shipt Facebook page because every now and then, they'll run a deal for $50 off.

Right now if you head to the Shipt website, you can get this deal for a limited time.

Despite the charge and a higher price for Meijer items, Erin says grocery shopping online is still saving her money by cutting out impulse buys in the store.

"I'm no longer making those purchases," she said. "So I've found that I've reduced my overall shopping weekly budget. "

If quality is a concern, Shipt, Meijer and Kroger say customers can specify exactly how they want their meat, fruits and veggies.

"I'll go through a couple of the fruits until I find the ones that I would serve to my own family and then that's how I know I'm gonna serve this to my customer," said Shipt shopper Sara Nowicki.

Grocers are counting on digital grocery shopping being the way of the future.

"The world of grocery shopping changes daily. We're always looking to the future and how technology is changing and how that can impact our customers' shopping experience," said Kimberly Collovecchio of Kroger.

If you're wondering about a job as a personal shopper, it pays pretty well. Anywhere from 20 to 25 bucks an hour for Shipt.

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