Biz Beat

Modesto has more ways than ever to get groceries without ever touching a cart

See how online grocery shopping works in Modesto

The online grocery shopping service choices are growing in Modesto. Save Mart has joined Raley's and Instacart to offer personal shopper services and, in some cases, home delivery.
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The online grocery shopping service choices are growing in Modesto. Save Mart has joined Raley's and Instacart to offer personal shopper services and, in some cases, home delivery.

Grocery shopping hasn’t changed much for hundreds of years — go to the store, browse the aisles, select your items, pay at checkout, go back home — until now.

A proliferation of online grocery shopping and delivery services have emerged recently in the Central Valley which cut out all of those middle steps. Now Modesto residents have more ways than ever to get milk, eggs and bread with just a few clicks. Save Mart is the latest to join the growing trend with the start of its new online shopping service ClickCart. The program joins Raley’s long-running eCart and the newer app-based Instacart in offering the convenience to valley customers.

Save Mart’s new service allows shoppers to order through their app or website, then pick up curbside or in store. Personal shoppers pick up the items and have them waiting for you when you arrive.

“We definitely noticed that our customers’ shopping needs have been evolving. We designed ClickCart to create the ultimate in convenience for our shoppers,” said Save Mart Public Affairs Manager Victoria Castro. “We wanted a program to fit their evolving needs.”

Save Mart launched ClickCart at its Modesto store on Pelandale Avenue about a month ago, and has since expanded to two other Northern California sites. The plan is to roll it out to more than 20 stores in the company by the end of the year.

The service costs $5, with no tip needed. To start, shoppers need to sign up for the company’s free Rewards program and go online or download the free Save Mart app. The $5 service fee will be waived for all shoppers through the month of July as a special promotion and to introduce people to the service.

As part of its launch, Save Mart donated $2,500 in online shopping credit to Camp Taylor, a Modesto nonprofit that holds free camps for children with heart disease. Camp founder and executive director Kimberlie Gamino used the service to pick up supplies for camp, which starts next weekend.

“This is an awesome service and way to just get the goods you need and go,” Gamino said. “I will definitely be using it for my personal shopping as well.”

Shoppers currently have a four-hour window to pick up their food after ordering. Right now Save Mart’s ClickCart does not offer an accompanying delivery service, unlike Raley’s eCart and Instacart. But Castro said they have plans to add one in the future.

Raley’s, meanwhile, has offered online shopping through its eCart service at its Village One store on Floyd Avenue since it opened in 2007. This year they added delivery by partnering with the app-based service FoodJets, which also offers restaurant delivery in the region.

Raley’s now offers eCart plus delivery at both of its Modesto stores, on Floyd Avenue and Tully Road. The personal shopper service costs $5.95, free for orders $100 and over. Adding delivery is $5 through FoodJets. The store has a two-hour pick-up window for its order.

The app-based company Instacart, like an Uber for groceries, began offering its shopping and delivery service locally last November. You can order locally from Safeway, Sprouts, Smart & Final, Costco, CVS, Petco, BevMo and Smart Foodservices through the service. Services start at $5.99 an order and go up depending on demand and timing. Unlike Raley’s and Save Mart, tipping is expected.

Raley’s eCart team lead Tina Yniguez said she fields at least 20 orders a day, if not more. Sundays and Mondays tend to be the busiest days, and customers range from young parents with families to elderly shoppers and in between.

“We have nurses, teachers, families, the elderly, so many people use the service,” she said. “We’ve been growing and growing and about 85 percent of the shoppers once they use it stay with me and keep using it.”

Save Mart has about 90 percent of its store items available through the online service, including alcohol. Raley’s eCart and Instacart also allow alcohol sales with ID checks at pick-up or delivery.

“I want to give them the best,” said Save Mart ClickCart personal shopper Cassy Spohn. “I shop for them like I would my own family.”