Graphic depicts and arm reaching out of a phone, holding a mesh bag of groceries over a map flowing out of the phone screen.

Edition 21 | Summer 2020

Technology and mobile applications have changed the retail industry. As we continue to see large department store retailers like Macy’s and JC Penney liquidate their assets and close hundreds of stores, grocery stores have witnessed massive growth over the last couple of years. 

While one could point to several reasons for the extensive growth, for people with disabilities, this provides a solution to something that has been a headache for many, for years. And with COVID-19, utilizing grocery delivery apps can limit the number of people one comes into contact with.

If you’re looking for solutions to ease the worry of going out, here are some apps LivAbility tested and reviewed. We also found these apps to be accessible to those with blindness and low-vision.

Sam’s Club

How it works: First, download the app on the App Store or Google Play. Then you have to input your Sam’s Club and credit card information. The app uses location tracking, so the scan & go feature is only available once you walk. You simply open the app, scan your items as you walk around shopping and then slide to pay when you’re done. You do not need to go to a register to check out at all. When you leave the store, you show a QR Code generated with your purchase (on the app) to an associate. They’ll scan it, and a receipt will be sent immediately to the email associated with your account.

Service fees: No.

Subscription/Membership required: Yes, you must have a Sam’s Club membership, which includes a yearly fee.

Tip driver/shopper: No.

Delivery/Curbside: There is a curbside option that allows you to shop through the app.

Pros:

  • The process is contactless. You don’t have to stand in the checkout line or interact with anyone other than the associate at the door when you leave. 
  • It’s a very streamlined and straightforward app to use.

Cons:

  • It does require you to still go into the store.
  • You can only use this app if you are a Sam’s Club member.
  • Alcohol is available to purchase but requires you to input your birthday when you scan it. When you check out, your QR Code appears red. The associate at the door checks your ID before you can leave. It is possible, but more of a process.

Fry’s 

How it works: After downloading the app, it takes minutes to set up an account. At first, the app can appear busy as it offers you sales and coupons as if you were in the store. However, once you get past all of that, the app is easy to navigate. The app also will retain all your previous orders so if you’re simply reordering, you can click “Add to the Next Delivery.” Once you are done shopping, you can select from a variety of delivery and pickup options. 

Pros:

  • There is a feature that allows users to upload a recipe and the app will give you a list of all the ingredients for the recipe. 
  • If an item you selected isn’t available, the app gives you the option to allow the store to pick alternatives.
  • There is an option for delivery via FedEx or UPS for $35.

Cons:

  • If you prefer delivery via FedEx or UPS, a $35 delivery fee is almost absurd.
    • By selecting this option, produce and frozen goods aren’t available.
  • For delivery to your house and curbside, you have to give a time range when they can show up or pick up at the store. So you have to be flexible.

Service fees: A delivery fee of $10.

Subscription/Membership required: No.

Tip driver/shopper: Yes.

Delivery/Curbside: Both are options.

Image depicts a paper grocery bag tipped over with vegetables and fruit falling out of it.

Walmart 

How it works: Once you’ve downloaded the app from the App Store or Google Play Store, you’ll either have to make a Walmart account or sign in using your login information. Similar to other apps, it uses location services to find the closest Walmart store to you. If you’re doing this and not at your home, make sure you change the location to your home address or the nearest location to where you want to pick up. You’re able to navigate the app then select the items you want to be delivered or picked up curbside.

Pros: 

  • It’s Walmart, so nearly anything you need is available for purchase. 
  • The app is straightforward to use, and it will remember items previously bought so that you can reorder them the next time.

Cons: 

  • Finding a delivery time that fits your schedule can be a little complicated.
  • If you’re having groceries delivered, the driver might not feel comfortable placing your groceries inside your home. 
  • Several items were replaced in a delivery order without notification

Service fees: For non-subscribers, a $9.95 delivery fee is required.

Subscription/Membership required: No, although you can choose to sign up for a monthly plan for $12.95 or an annual plan for $98.

Tip driver/shopper: Yes.

Delivery/Curbside: There is a curbside option that allows you to shop through the app.

InstaCart 

How it works: Sign up via their website (www.instacart.com) or download the app via the App Store or Google Play. Enter your zip code to generate a list of stores that offer Instacart in your area. Some of the stores that offer Instacart service in Arizona are Sprouts, Sur La Table, The Vitamin Shoppe, Sam’s Club, Smart & Final, Costco, Safeway, CVS Pharmacy, Bashas, Natural Grocers, Petco, Fry’s, Albertson’s, Food City, AJ’s Fine Foods, Target, Big Lots and Staples. 

Once you have a history of shopping with a store, items you frequently order will be listed when you select that store, which makes the ordering process faster. When your groceries are being shopped, they notify you via text if they are out of something you ordered. Then, they will send you a picture of another option for your approval. You also have the option to follow the shopper as if you are in the store with them. 

After you press “Check Out,” you will receive an option to approve the shopper to replace an item you ordered that is not available with another option. You will receive an email confirmation of your order along with your receipt. Once you have received your order, the app will ask you to rate their service.

Pros:

  • The process is contactless for curbside pickup or delivery.
  • It’s a very streamlined and easy app to use.
  • Same-day delivery.

Cons:

  • Stores charge a fee for this service.
  • It takes a little time to get used to shopping online.
  • Some stores raise their prices slightly to cover the costs of Instacart, so read the fine print under “View pricing policy” before you place an order from a store.

Service fees: There is a possible nominal fee for curbside pickup and a fee is charged for delivery service.

Subscription/Membership required: No, unless you are ordering from a store that requires membership, such as Costco or Sam’s Club.

Tip driver/shopper: A tip is required for the driver, but optional for the shopper.
Delivery/Curbside: Both are options.

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