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- I tried curbside pickup at Aldi and Walmart to see how they really compare.
- Aldi’s app is glitchy, and the whole process has some kinks that need working out.
- Walmart has curbside down perfectly, from ordering to grocery pickup.
Curbside pickup got a major boost because of the pandemic as customers avoided going into stores.
Two years later, in 2022, curbside pickup remains popular with shoppers, showing no signs of going away.
I’ve been using curbside pickup at Walmart for over a year, so I decided to compare it to Aldi’s version. Here’s what Walmart’s pickup is like.
When you open the app, it prompts you to choose your nearest location for pickup, or add your address for delivery.
The time slots come in hour-long blocks. At the beginning of the pandemic it was hard to find a spot, but now I rarely need to book more than a day or two in advance to get my choice of time.
Once you’ve selected a time, create your list. The app is organized into sections that change seasonally, like spring produce, but you can also search for items or look through past orders.
See what’s available, and get suggestions for similar items to picks that are out of stock. Just add enough items to hit the $35 minimum and pickup is free.
I also really like how easy it is to re-add the items I order the most, all gathered in one place.
Once your order is created, you have until about midnight the night before to continue adding to your list. For me, this is one of the most useful features, because I almost always realize we need something else before it’s actually time to pick up groceries.
A few hours before pickup, Walmart will send a text notifying you about any substitutions or weight adjustments on produce.
I’ve always had good experiences with substitutions that are nearly identical to what I ordered, at the same cost.
Once you accept or reject any substitutions, the shoppers start preparing your order.
You’ll also get a text letting you know your order is ready for pickup.
Check-in on the app when you leave home so Walmart has an estimate of when you’ll arrive.
A side area of the parking lot was marked for grocery pickup. When you pull into a spot the app knows you’ve arrived and prompts you to enter your spot number and color of your car.
My Walmart has about 10 pickup spots. I’ve occasionally had to wait, but the process usually moves quickly.
Walmart shoppers use small carts to pull crates with grocery orders.
Shoppers come up to the driver’s window to double-check the name on the order with a handheld tablet that they carry.
Then, groceries get loaded into the trunk.
Shoppers will usually bag groceries in your reusable bags if you bring them, but I usually just ask them to load groceries into my trunk to save time and bag them myself at home.
Sometimes they are more organized in my trunk, but as long as eggs and anything else with the potential to get crushed is supported, I’m happy. I’ve never had any issues with this.
At first, I was unsure about using a grocery pickup service, but now I’m never going back. I love the convenience, especially because I can add things to my order over several days and have them all ready and waiting for me.
I also find I avoid overspending on impulse purchases because I’m browsing aisles where I don’t need anything, and I avoid purchasing too much of staples because I can look at my pantry as I shop.
Next, I visited my local Aldi in Rochester, New York to test out the chain’s curbside pickup option.
In a recent price comparison, I found Aldi has lower prices than competing stores on nearly every product, so I wanted to see how its curbside pickup stacked up.
I downloaded the Aldi app, where one of the first options I saw was curbside pickup.
The website was fairly intuitive to use, although at first I was confused at being unable to change the pickup time.
Groceries were divided into the categories I expected, like vegetables, fruits, meat, and dairy.
It even included a section with “Aldi Finds,” featuring items beloved by customers that the chain switches out regularly.
Some categories didn’t have very many options. I like to buy larger 18-count egg containers, but that wasn’t an option at Aldi.
I spent about $70 for plenty of produce, meat, and some pantry staples that I think will last my fiancé and me about two weeks, which felt like a good deal.
After finalizing everything else, I finally got to pick my grocery pickup time. There were so many slots available, as soon as within just two hours after I ordered.
Aldi sent me 14 total texts between my order and pickup, which felt a bit excessive.
At my pickup time, I went to Aldi and checked in online, which was quite slow and kept crashing.
This location has four designated curbside spots near the side of the parking lot.
The spots were marked with signs, so it was very clear where to go.
I checked in by indicating my parking spot and car color.
When you check in, the website provides a summary of the information you’ve entered and an estimate of the remaining wait time.
The progress bar reminded me of Domino’s tracker, which similarly gives updates on what the worker is doing with your order at the moment.
Aldi definitely erred on the side of over-communicating, sending multiple messages about my pickup window closing, and alerting me when the worker was preparing my order.
The Aldi employee came to my car about when the tracker predicted and placed bags in my trunk.
The bags were all labeled with my name and number, which made it seem like a very organized process, and they didn’t forget any of my items.
Ultimately, I liked the idea of Aldi curbside pickup more than I did the execution.
Aldi’s stock changes regularly, and the website doesn’t seem to update consistently to reflect current offerings.
I also wish the app itself worked better, with the capability to do the grocery order right there instead of in a separate browser. Walmart’s app is definitely easier to use and functions better.
The pickup process was also much smoother at Walmart, without sending me over a dozen texts.
Walmart pickup was definitely a better experience, from the app to the service. I still like Aldi, but I think I’ll only shop there in person from now on.
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