Online grocery shopping

Edit: New readers to the topic can join it as of October 2022 by clicking here.

Recently due to an illness which kept me house bound for some weeks I decided to revisit Cole’s Online grocery shopping service . I had used the service some years ago but was not that impressed at the time due to delivery charges , items not being delivered etc . Website was not that easy to navigate around but was easier than Woolworths . This time I was pleasantly surprised how the service and the pricing had changed . Very pleased all round . Would be interested to hear from any other “Choicees” on the forum A) Their experiences recently , good and bad , with Coles and Woolworths online B) Their opinion of this form of grocery shopping in Australia and will consumers embrace it as readily as they have in other countries . In Great Britain , for instance, it is starting to out strip consumers actually physically going to the store to purchase their groceries . No doubt other factors , population density etc would have to be considered there . I have no affiliation with Coles , Woolworths , Aldi’s etc . Just an interested consumer


From an environmental point of view (all I ever think about, really), I’m leaning towards online food shopping as the better option. Far less energy is used for one truck to drive around to everyone’s house than for everyone to fire up their own car and all drive to the shop.

Of course, the best option is to cycle or walk to the shop, but some of us cannot do this, so online delivery could be a viable option.


I have done a weekly online shop at either Coles or Woolworths for the past few years as I’m unable to shop in-store. Both have upped their game considerably over that time. Woolworths did a major upgrade of their website last year (obviously designed for phone/tablet users, which I am not). Coles is in the throes of doing the same. Each has different pricing and delivery options but overall they probably balance out. eg. Woolworths prices are the same as in-store but Coles are not (average about 50 cents per item more), however for the small weekly shop that I do, Coles delivery charge is much cheaper than Woolworths. Both sometimes fall down with deliveries running late (well past the 3-hour window), and have out-of-stock items. This may depend on the particular store where your order is packed. This also affects the range - just because it’s listed on the website doesn’t necessarily mean it’s available from the store where your order is packed. You won’t discover this until you go to checkout. Also I have found fresh fruit a particular problem - I frequently get soft, overripe kiwi fruit and strawberries. I always complain and get a refund, but it still means I have none for that week. Regarding payment, I don’t like the fact that Woolworths charge me at the time I put in my order, then have to refund if I modify or cancel or if items are out-of-stock when the order is packed, however I like that I can now pay using Paypal as an alternative to credit card. Coles doesn’t charge until the order is packed, so there is no need to refund, and it’s easy to modify or cancel the order, but as yet they don’t offer Paypal.
So basically, it’s swings and roundabouts. Overall, I’m reasonably satisfied with doing my grocery shopping online.

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I have used Coles on line on a fairly regular basis because Woolies do not deliver to this area: I do not order fruit and veg from them because the first order I placed the standard was far from what I considered acceptable. The lettuce limp, zuchini soft, s were the carrots. It looked as though the packers had bagged what ever was left at the end of business . I lodged a complaint( refund was offered) so have not ordered fruit or veg again, I realise this may have been a once off however I throw out veg like that. I agree that sometimes items are “missing” but refunds have always been prompt on those occasions…overall it is well worth shopping online for the convenience

I noticed that Choice have posted on their Facebook page a question regarding Woolworths’ online grocery shopping.

The post reads:

Do you do your your weekly grocery shop online?

Woolworths is in damage control following a ‘major delivery system outage’ over the weekend that caused online orders to be cancelled.

The retail giant is offering customers full refunds and $100 gift cards.

Were you affected by the outage? Tell us in the comments below.

We stopped using them years ago because A) they usually didn’t have half the stuff we’d ordered. B) They’d charge us for items that didn’t actually end up in the order. C) They’d give us someone else’s grocery order. D) We’d end up with a tonne of plastic shopping bags that only had one or two items in each one for a big weekly shop, and E) the meat always had an expiration date of the next day. Phoning them to complain about the meat always resulted in us being told the reason the meat is set to expire after one day is so that we’d be forced to eat it on that day and thus wouldn’t have a reason to complain that it didn’t last the week until our next shop, I kid you not. This was their standard response, even from management.

Coles online shopping was pretty much a similar experience. The only reason we were using the online shopping at the time was because my partner had broken her ankle and it seemed like an easy way to do the groceries while I took charge of the rest of the household duties, which we’d normally share.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the milk crates with leaking milk usually being placed over the top of the regular grocery crates in the delivery trucks which meant we had to wash just about everything as we’d take things out of the shopping bags to get the sour milk smell out of it all.


I have been using Coles home delivery quite a few times. Today, as I was browsing the offers online, it struck me, that some of the online prices seemed unusually high. I made a list of some of the advertised regular prices and compared them with the store prices, where my deliveries come from. 4 of the 6 items compared were around 10% dearer online. That’s enough to put me off online deliveries for good. Like most customers I took it for granted that the online prices would be equal to the " in store " pricing.


Great detective work on your part. Maybe you should ask Coles Headquarters for a response? It would be interesting to see how they answer your request.


A bit of a surprise, but has been reported in the mass media:

Woolworths is different and says “Same Prices In Store Delivered to your Door -
Did you know that when you shop online with Woolworths you get the same prices that you do in store… delivered right to your door? And that’s on everything!”

This applies to all groceries, but we have noticed that sometimes there may be a store specific (manager’s) special whereby prices are different to that online. These manager’s specials are limited to fresh produce and possibly used to shift excess stock quickly.

We often check Woolworth’s prices before shopping to see how it compares to our independent local grocer.


Very good point @erwinhecht! Compared to other countries, our online food shopping is unfortunately a bit of a joke. I also found the online orders were frequently inaccurate when I’ve tried on various sites.


I nearly choked on my coffee …

An army of over 1000 bots developed by Ocado will staff each fulfilment centre.

and …

Coles is planning for around 1300 dedicated software engineers to maintain and enhance the customer experience of the new online grocery platform.

1300 software engineers !! thousands of bots - what could go wrong (waiting for the rogue engineer who releases the robot wars trojan into the fulfilment centre … lets hope they can contain it)

Lesser populated locations than Sydney and Melbourne are safe for the moment …


Cool! Hopefully the system becomes more streamlined and is a better experience for the customers :smiley:


We’ve updated our review on online grocery delivery services, see the results below.

If you have your groceries delivered, how do you rate the experience?


I chose to go shopping for items today at the LOCAL Coles. Before leaving I chose to check the Coles site to see if the product (dishwasher freshener) was an item that was carried by them. I went to the website and checked. The item normally retails at $6 ea. ON the website it had a specials symbol showing 2 for $9.

At the store after shopping I left my item till last and scanned it ( i chose to buy 2) each scanned at $6 so I enquired of the staff member who requested a price check. The staff member returned and said that there was no different pricing on the shelf, although I could see the pricing on their website and it was visible on my smartphone . The staff member stated that NOT ALL SPECIALS online are available in-store! I chose to have my $70.00 transaction completely cancelled and left without any shopping! I contacted Coles customer service number (1800 061 562) and relayed the above to the staff member who goes on to talk over me and say …you were using our online shopping site and this item is only available as an ONLINE SPECIAL ! If I had ordered it online I could have it for the 2 for $9 !! WHAT is this country coming to…now you are penalised for NOT shopping online!! This is complete lunacy.

AND as this subject has been merged ( Gets up on SOAPBOX) I never knew that there was a difference between ONLINE and INSTORE specials - Therefore I was hoping by it’s own subject to present to COLES a precedent and SUGGEST that ONLINE and INSTORE SPECIALS have different colored ICONS so that it is NOT deceptive behaviour!!

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This topic is about people’s experience with online shopping but was likely moved because it seems to deal with an issue around instore and online differences. Perhaps not quite what you are referring to in your post ie that you checked online and then physically shopping for the items instore and getting a different pricing to what you checked.

Thank you for posting your experience and hopefully it will help warn others to be careful.

I also agree that if the price isn’t distinguished between online and instore then it is difficult for a shopper to prepare their item list and budget the cost. This is particularly so if they use the site to cost their needs before they shop. I would if it were me escalate the problem to the Store Manager and their Customer Care, to both of them in writing, and advising of the poor response you seem to have received. Also including a post on their Facebook site if you use Facebook may also pay dividends, as social commentary seems to get fast responses compared to other means.


I am annoyed that the changing landscape of recent times is always to the benefit of the Duopoly , as the smaller supermarkets try extremely hard, AND consumers have been forced to ENDURE massive price gouging and therefore increased profit margins through the COVID pandemic.

So ARE people aware that there is a separate price “difference” (online VS instore), or another way to HIGHLIGHT this is 2 PRICE specials. 1 For instore specials. 2. The other for ONLINE specials ( when shopping online).

As the website “does not clearly define the difference or clearly state that online pricing can differ to instore pricing through a NOTICE or Disclaimer (with acceptance)” then using the same specials LOGO/ICON may well be considered as deceptive. ( advertising standards etc)

I have escalated my complaint through a telephone call and ALSO through a written complaint on their website. I will consider adding it to their facebook page/s as well.

MAYBE the solution like I intimated above is that they have a different coloured specials symbol for their online page.

GETS down off SOAPBOX now… :rofl: :rofl:


Woolworths used to have a price guarantee between online and store prices. I am not sure if it still stands. I do often check online prices before going to Woolworths and am yet to find any discrepancy. The only discrepancies seem to be that not all products are available in every store or online. I suspect some products are stocked for local demographics or local cultural backgrounds and is up to individual store manager to chose these items for their own stores.

With Woollies, one can also use the catalogue to shop online. One can click on the item in the catalogue and add it to their shopping cart.

Coles has never had such a policy/guarantee, and had different pricing. I understand that Coles has taken this approach as they argue costs of delivering different retail options are different.



- NOW you tell me ?? Misleading OR NOT ??


Thanks for the images.

Answer…Possibly not.

The top advertisement makes it clear that it is an ‘online only offer’. This means it isn’t available in store or click and collected, otherwise it would have said…online and instore.


The top is Woolies ad, the bottom is coles ad!! No where on the COLES ad does it indicate that it is exclusively available online !! You ONLY find out when you click ONLINE EXCLUSIVE tab on the website!! Very Deceptive. :exploding_head: :exploding_head:


I lodged a complaint with Coles Customer Service this was their reply (corporate drivel. customer service - my butt)

Dear KW3180,

Thank you for your enquiry into Coles Online prices.

To assist us in meeting our customers’ needs, everyday staple products such as fresh milk, bread, meat, produce and delicatessen purchases, are always at the same price as Coles Supermarkets.

However, Coles Online prices do vary and will offer specials which are not available in store.
Please be assured that a copy of your correspondence has been provided to our Merchandise Team for their information.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact us. We look forward to being of service to you in the future.

Kind Regards,

Coles Customer Care

Although the DUST has settled…it’s the last they’ll see of me in the future.