Online Grocery Shopping – Which is better – Coles or Woolworths?


Online Grocery Shopping – Which is better – Coles or Woolworths?


Online grocery shopping has been around for a long time now, maybe you have given it a go, and maybe you haven’t, but one thing is for sure – it can be a busy mum’s secret weapon. No running to the shops with grumpy, hungry children in tow. No nagging as you go down every aisle. No sudden desperate toilet dash half way through.

I have done my grocery shopping online on and off since my daughter was born 5 years ago. And while I think that there is a lot to like about getting your groceries delivered, I also think there is a long way to go before it is a totally seamless service, but it is certainly better than nothing!

The two main players in the online groceries war are Coles and Woolworths, Typically I have used Coles, but Woolworths have recently revamped their website and app so I thought the time was right to give them another chance. I have road tested them both to see which service really is the best!

I got two lots of weekly groceries delivered over a 4 week period (round robin style – one week Coles, one week Woolies, then repeat x2). I have broken my review down to 3 categories – Ease of Ordering/Website, Delivery + Costs, and Timing and Substitutions.


Ease of Ordering and Website/App

Guys, its so easy…


–          It only took 20 mins to order and they had my previously bought items stored (linked to the rewards card)

–          can pay on Paypal, however if you amend the order you get charged AGAIN and have to wait for a refund from woolies for the previous order

–          Next day delivery is available

–          You can’t see or display an ingredient list on items (not that I could see anyway). It is a big issue if you have any dietary requirements that you are shopping for (which we do – kids with allergies).

–          It isn’t easy to find where to reserve your delivery time in the app (for the record, you have to go into the checkout area to reserve it)

–          Products are laid out pretty logically and is easy to find – the search function is great if you aren’t sure of the categories



–          Only takes about 20 mins to order and my previous items purchased are stored (linked through flybys card)

–          You provide card details and only pay once the order has been picked and scanned (so literally at checkout) – if payment fails for any reason you can pay the driver when they deliver the shopping via a portable eftpos

–          Next day delivery is an option but delivery spots are almost always booked up a few days in advance – so no last-minute shopping, unless you are lucky

–          If there are substitutions, you pay the lower price of the items instead of the ticketed price.

–          Everything is laid out pretty logically and is easy to find – the search function is great if you aren’t sure of the categories


Winner: Coles

Coles won this section as it is easy to book your delivery time, you can read the ‘labels’ on items and you don’t pay until the shopping is all picked and packed. For substitutions, you only pay the lessor amount, whereas with woolies, even if your item is substituted you pay the original price of the item you ordered.


Delivery – Costs and Timing

Straight to your door…



–         Offer a one-off price for deliveries so that if you spend over $150 you can get your order delivered for ‘free’. So, for $80 you can have your grocery orders over $150 delivered free for a year – they have other packages as well. I bought a 3 month pack for $45 to see how it would go.

–         The deliveries were consistently late. I don’t know if it was just bad luck, but each delivery was easily 40 mins later than the delivery window I selected. The delivery windows were already 3 hours long, I missed a party in the park and almost missed my kids music lesson.

  • The delivery drivers did not want to come into my house to drop off the groceries, they literally unloaded them at my door (and they left the gate open after they left every time, which annoyed me as I have little kids, if one of my kids accidently or sneakily opened the front door, they would have been straight out onto the      road).

–         They do offer tracking for the delivery and I was advised that they would be later than the selected time – so the communication was good.



–          Delivery costs vary – from $3 for an 8 hour delivery window – to $10 for a 3 hour delivery window.

–          Groceries arrived within the allocated timeframe

–          Drivers carried the groceries to my kitchen and helped unload, and they closed the gate when they left

–          They also offer tracking for the delivery and you can keep updated via their app


Winner: Coles


I thought for sure that I would be selecting Woolies for this when I started my ‘experiment’, however the consistent lateness of the deliveries and the lack of service from the delivery drivers really put me off. I have found Coles to have a friendlier, more seamless service in this regard, even if the delivery cost is more expensive over time.



Hmmm, what came and what didn’t?



–          substitutions all well thought out and suited.

–          Even if the substitution is cheaper they still charge you the original amount



–          Substitutions are strange, I ordered Almond milk and they substituted it with Soy milk, no substitution for peanut butter, once they didn’t provide a substitution for chicken (CHICKEN!!)

–          They charge you the lower amount if an item is substituted.


Winner: Woolies


In this experience, Woolies has the better substitutions, the Coles ones were downright strange. It seemed like the packer (picker?) had very little experience with grocery shopping from a customer perspective, or was really disengaged with the process, the care factor seemed to be zero.



Overall – I found Coles to be the better online grocery shopping experience. It still had its faults, but I will be sticking with Coles for my online shopping from now on. The delivery experience was too ad hoc with Woolies and given the busyness of my life (three kids under four people!) I don’t have the extra hour each week to wait for my delivery to come, or risk the ongoing uncertainty around delivery timeframes. Sort that stuff out Woolies, and advise your drivers to close the gate, and I will come back and try you again!

It just goes to show that sometimes it is the little things that set you apart in business.

Now to see what happens when Amazon arrives later this year, I’ve heard a rumor they will be offering SAME DAY delivery – now that is something I would pay extra for!


Katie is the Creative Director at Mums of Brisbane. She loves coffee, sleep and social media, not necessarily in that order. Most days will find her blogging, drinking bucket loads of coffee and trying to keep up with the kids. She lives with her husband and three children in beautiful Brisbane.



Katie -


Katie is the Managing Director and Editor of Mums of Brisbane. Most days will find her drinking copious amounts of coffee, cuddling her kids and trying not to step barefoot on lego. Katie lives in Beautiful Brisbane with her husband and four gorgeous children.