Oh, Shipt: A Review of the Shipt Shopping Experience
It’s 2018, and we don’t have flying cars or robot chefs á la The Jetsons. Yet. What we do have is Shipt, an Internet-based grocery delivery service that has made my life as a working mom and wife almost as easy as having my own Rosie the Robot Maid.
Original owner Bill Smith, a self-professed high school dropout-turned-entrepreneur, didn’t build Shipt in a day. Smith first ran a cellular company before shifting gears to run a small loans business and eventually starting a prepaid debit card corporation. GreenDot purchased this last venture from Smith for millions of dollars, leaving him searching for a new opportunity.
A Grocery Delivery Service is Born
Enter the creation of Shipt—Smith’s answer to a world familiar with Amazon Prime and Uber. Shipt was originally developed as a local alternative to ordering from big-box companies. At first, users had to create a Shipt account, place the order with and pay the third-party store, then return to Shipt to select a shopper to pick up the order.
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The process was inefficient and almost ruined the company. After having an epiphany while wrangling his crying children in a supermarket, Smith reevaluated what was necessary to make his company successful. He focused on making Shipt a one-stop shop for all shopping—and removing the burden of bouncing from site to site. “I kept getting emails from people who tried the service that would say, ‘Hey, it’s cool that I can buy a pair of Beats headphones and get them delivered the same day, but what I really want is my groceries delivered,’” Smith says. This revelation saved Shipt and drummed up interest from big league players. Target purchased Shipt in December 2017 for half a billion dollars and plans to roll out the service in all stores by the end of 2018. While it remains a wholly owned subsidiary of Target, other retailers have the option of using Shipt for grocery delivery for their stores, too.
What options do consumers have if they don’t have the time to shop, but two-day shipping isn’t going to cut it? What if you need fresh items? Shipt now answers those questions with “we have you covered.”
My Shipt Experience
I joined Shipt about two months ago. My original intent was that it would make meal-prepping while I’m on my ~current fitness journey~ a breeze. A coworker spoke highly of it, and I was fortunate to lock in the reduced-cost $49 annual subscription fee for Mother’s Day. The usual subscription fee is $99 for a year, or you can go the non-committal route of $14 per month.
The first time I tried it, I went full throttle and placed a HUGE order of all the things I needed. I had everything from apples to protein powder to paper goods like towels and facial tissue. The shopping system is easy to navigate and simple to increase or lower the quantity of items you’re purchasing. You can also enter in special notes for each item, i.e. if you’re purchasing toothbrushes, you can ask that they be different colors.
Once you’re ready to check out, you have the opportunity to put in special instructions or requests for how your Shipt shopper will contact you. You’re also asked if you’d like to be informed if certain items are out or substitutions are necessary—or if you’d like your shopper to just make their best judgment call.
Conversations regarding substitutions I’ve had with a Shipt shopper have ranged from being notified that the type of lettuce I’ve requested is unavailable to needing to select a different brand of pineapple juice. You can do a final review of your items and the price, and you are given windows of time for delivery for as soon as an hour after your order has been placed.
You can also make additional requests like “text me when you’re on your way to deliver” in order to kennel any animal roommates you have or to make sure you’re ready for delivery. Every Shipt order I’ve received has been delivered without a hitch. The shoppers have shown up on time with my frozen or cold items placed in special freezer bags to keep them frosty en route home.
After your order has been delivered, the app will ask if you’d like to tip your shopper and rate your experience. You’re then free to put away your groceries without the frustration of multiple trips from your car while navigating any furry friends trying to escape or children who may run into your path.
The only con I’ve found so far is that I don’t get the benefit of receiving the 5% off of my Target order via my Target REDCard, which I would if I ordered straight off their site or purchased in store. That being said, I heartily feel that the minor loss in savings is worth it over the complete loss of my sanity had I fought traffic, in-store obstacles and the battle that is my usual shopping experience.
Have you tried Shipt? Love it, hate it or have questions? Tell us about it at [email protected]