I do sometimes wonder what the loyalty card algorithms make of my shopping. I hardly ever buy fruit and vegetables in the supermarket – the market and food co-op are far cheaper, cleaning products and dishwasher tablets come from Savers, depending what they have in stock. I do a big bulk internet order for non perishables from time to time and then do smaller top up shops. I probably confuse the computer, and do not spend enough money, so never seem to be mailed any coupons or special offers on anything that I use.
Internet supermarket shopping usually requires a minimum of a 18 hour lead time (typing this at noon I can get a delivery by 6.30am tomorrow) and if you are stuck at home needing something urgently there is not much you can do short of calling a friend or local cab company.
Step in Pocket Shop who currently offer a 1 hour grocery delivery from Sainsbury’s in parts of central London (Tesco, Boots and M&S and an expanded delivery area are coming soon).
To shop you type in your postcode, then you are directed to the store; which works in pretty much the same way as any other internet shop, select what you want – £20 minimum spend, enter your details and wait for your shopping to be delivered. The delivery charge varies from £6.50 – £5.10 depending if you want a 1,2 or 3 hour delivery and additionally there is a premium on the cost of the items. (for comparison a next day delivery to my flat for both Sainsbury’s and Ocado was £6.99 reducing if you spend over £40). Annoyingly when you come to check out the 1 hour delivery slots are not always available, although this can change minute by minute.
Ordering is simply – the store is easy to navigate, although the search function needs some refining, a search for cereal brings up all the sensible options but further down the page items such as mayonnaise, fish treats and hair dye creep in. There is a bulk limit on the number of items you can order, with 9 x 1kg bags of flour in my shopping basket I was not allowed to add any more, but the system allowed me to add over 80 rolls of kitchen paper, so I am not quite sure how that works. In reality you are unlikely to want that much of anything which you want immediately so I do not think the limit would be a problem.
To register you need to provide your address and also verify your mobile number via SMS code.
My shopping which I had booked a 2 hour order for was delivered in just over 1 hour 20 mins, but the delightfully charming and polite Chloe, who had travelled from Kings Cross, shopped at Fulham and walked to my flat. Shoppers wear tee shirts with the Pocket Shop logo so can be identified before you open the door to them. There were a few substitutions which had been done sensibility which I was more than happy with.
There is a price premium on the items you buy. According to My Supermarket my Pocket Shop shopping costing £23.48 would have cost £17.34 (not taking into account special offers) – around a third more – individual items ranged from 27% – 33.3% more*. Outsourcing a job which would have taken me about 30 minutes cost £11.50
*Updated – Pocket Shop have pointed out that their prices are competitive when compared to convenience stores and locals.
I can see Pocket Shop is great for time pressed professionals who work from home, if you are waiting in for a delivery or are not well, parents with sleeping or sick children. If you cannot get out and need medicine, loo roll, baby food or nappies then the service is fantastic, but it is only available during shop opening hours.
Opinions on the value you get from the service will vary according to how much you value your time (or your hourly rate) and how much you need the service. If you have a sick child and need Calpol then the service is priceless.
I would use Pocket Shop again if I had deadlines, was on my own and not well and could not pop to the shops, the main niggle is that you do not know how soon you can get your order delivered before you start the order process.
With thanks to Pocket Shop for the voucher to cover my shopping and delivery. Fuss Free Flavours was not obliged to write a positive, or otherwise, review.