Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Online grocery launches Charlotte home delivery

Lettuce Carry is now delivering groceries in the Charlotte region at no extra charge with a minimum order of $25, offering an alternative for customers too harried to make it to the supermarket.

I first saw this on our news partner WCNC-TV, which had a story about Lettuce Carry on Friday. The service is privately owned and operates out of a warehouse in Pineville, delivering to most of the Charlotte region and parts of South Carolina.

Lettuce Carry stocks about 15,000 items, smaller than a traditional supermarket which might have 40,000 or so individual items. But that's still more than many smaller stores, such as Aldi or Trader Joe's, which carry around 10,000 or fewer.

The service offers next-day delivery for free on orders over $25, as well as weekly and monthly deliveries on minimum orders of $75. You save 3 percent and 5 percent off the total bill with those options. A same-day "expedited" order comes with a $10 delivery fee, but no minimum order size.

Online grocery shopping hasn't exactly caught fire so far with traditional retailers. Harris Teeter offers curbside pickup, where shoppers order online and show up at the store to pick up and pay for their completed order. Publix, which is opening in the fall near Charlotte, recently discontinued a similar program after it failed to attract enough customers.

Lettuce Carry seems to fit the same convenience niche that Swiss Farms, a new drive-thru grocer on Sardis Road, is aiming for. With traditional grocery shopping shifting to ever-bigger stores (Wal-Mart, Target, Harris Teeter's expanded stores), some consumers seem to be finding they don't have the time (or desire) to browse 20 aisles each time they need milk and eggs. Hence the rise in food sales at small-box retailers such as Family Dollar, drive-thru grocers selling just the basics, and grocers who will bring a limited selection of the essentials straight to your door.

According to WCNC, Lettuce Carry has about 50 customers so far. Have you tried it, or would you? Why or why not? I'm curious to hear what you think.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

I passed their truck the other day in South Charlotte. Glad to know more about this. I might give it a try.

Anonymous said...

Unless I can compare nutrition labels and price vs. size of the container, not interested.

Tonya said...

I definitely will use this service if they deliver to my area. The convenience alone of having it brought to your home for those of us who work heavy schedules is a blessing. Nice to see the incorporation of local foods as well.

Anonymous said...

I'm a native of Charlotte having recently moved back to town, having spend the last 8 years in NYC. One thing I have come to miss is FreshDirect which appears to be nearly identical in concept to Lettuce Carry. Obviously, getting groceries is a far different endeavor in NYC than Charlotte but finally having an option to have groceries delivered to your door is a welcome addition, especially given that when I moved back I moved Uptown. Thrilled they are here and hope it catches on!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm excited to hear about this, and thanks for reporting it. I have used online grocery deliveries in Denver, CO and Washington, DC with much success (through Safeway, Giant and King Soopers). It's especially helpful when browsing for sales and deals, something I have little patience for when I'm in the actual store.

Anonymous said...

I had my first order delivered yesterday after hoping for a service like this for my area for years. To say I was delighted would be an understatement.

Spacegrass said...

I have been singing the praises of the Harris Teeter Express Lane for about a year now. I am a busy, full time working mom who ain't about to give more time away than I have to.
I am going to try Lettuce Carry- hope they have a decent beer (IPA) selection...
Thanks for the review!

Bill said...

So, how is their concept any different from Webvan, Peapod or Simon Delivers?

While they may attract a following, I question whether it will be enough to sustain the business.

Anonymous said...

Would the 'Charlotte region' include Concord? I would use it for basic items. I assume they would not take coupons and the delivery fee is baked into the cost of the items.

Anonymous said...

years ago I lived in St Louis where I shopped by phone at a grocery named STRAUBS. On a certain day at a certain time previously agreed I would have my list made,she would tell me about the specials and then I would place my order and within the day a truck would arrive and the driver brought my order in and put the items on the kitchen table, give me the receipts . The bill would come by mail once a month. We ate well;I never bought
impulse items. It was cheaper than my going to the store to shop.

Anonymous said...

I got my first delivery last evening. I work full time, have a husband that travels often for work, and 3 small children; going to the grocery store is a pain. With Lettuce Carry, I can order my groceries after the kids are in bed and have them delivered after I'm home from work. I will continue to use this service every week. The customer service has been amazing!

Jenna said...

Yes! Even if I hadn't recently broken my leg, I'd definitely be giving this a spin. I've tried the HT pick-up, but would really love the delivery option instead. In light of my current inability to drive, this is perfect timing for me. :)

Anonymous said...

Lettuce Carry is great! I find that their produce and meats are of a much higher quality than any other grocer in town. Great customer service, great quality and at a great price. They're a must use.

J said...

Spent a big chunk of my lunch hour today going through the Lettuce Carry website. I'm starting on Weight Watchers and was pleased to see most of the Smart Ones meals that I like available, for pretty much the same price as Wal-Mart. The wife likes Morningstar Farms meals, and they appear to be just a bit higher in price.

The only thing that gave me pause is the cryptic "Charlotte area" delivery zone. I live a couple miles from the Galleria Wal-Mart, where we do almost all our grocery shopping. Assuming Lettuce Carry delivers to us, we will definitely be trying it out.

Anonymous said...

We have been doing on-line grocery shopping for almost 10 years now, with Lowe's Food first and now with Harris Teeter. As far as I know, the both do not have a delivery service but they would shop for you and you can pick up at the curbside. They are both awesome and we love it!! They both charge for shopping for you (HT charges about $5 for every order and Lowe's has both options – monthly or per order). With two young ones, we did not mind paying $5 per week to get an extra 1 hour at home. We will definitely try out Lettuce Carry. Thanks for the article.

Anonymous said...

To those who aren't positive as to the Lettuce Carry delivery area, I have the details for you: All of Mecklenburg County and portions of the surrounding counties (including Concord, Huntersville/Mooresville, Matthews/Monroe, Gastonia). Feel free to email them or give them a call, they are extremely helpful and their main focus is the customer.

From what I gathered, they are able to keep their prices lower and offer free delivery due to their overhead costs being much lower than a typical grocery store, makes sense to me since they are in a warehouse instead of a strip mall.

gregincharlotte said...

Reid's Fine Foods has been doing it for more than 20 years in the Charlotte area. They still do it today from their Selwyn Ave. location. Delivery is not free but then again, what today really is "free".
A company called My Grocer tried to launch but couldn't retain enough interest.
Don' be fooled, Free delivery means higher product prices. They have to pay the people that take the order, pull the order and then deliver the order. Not to mention the expense of the delivery vehicle.

dialabank said...

I assume they would not take coupons and the delivery fee is baked into the cost of the items.

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Anonymous said...

I saw the original news investigation by Dion Lim on NBC last week and according to her, you do save 6-8% on an average order compared to the grocery stores in Charlotte. I'm definitely going to give them a try, even if I'm paying the same amount it's worth it to eliminate the hassle of going to the store myself.

online shopping said...

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