When I tell people that we get paid to do grocery shopping, often their eyes light up and they say, “Oh, I’d love to do that!” Yes, doing grocery shopping for people is pretty cool. However, it’s also not easy.
When I undertook grocery shopping for my first client I was amazed at how tough and tiring it was. You know how there are aisle upon aisle of products in a supermarket? Well it turns out other people actually buy those products, even if you don’t and have never looked at them before. This in itself makes it extremely hard because often you don’t even know what you are looking for. I mean, have you ever had to buy lavender oil? I certainly hadn’t the first time!
Grocery shopping, or indeed, any shopping for a client, is hard and you can easily make mistakes which will frustrate your clients. Some mistakes are ok, at least initially. Yet there are some strategies you can implement to ensure you reduce or eliminate these problems for your client.
Ask The Right Questions
Before you even walk into the supermarket, it’s important you’ve asked the right questions.
- What is their preferred supermarket, butcher or fruit shop?
- Are there any allergies you should be aware of?
- What is their preferred day/time for delivery?
- Would they like you to unpack your groceries?
- Would they like you to put them away?
- Can they give you a brief tour of their kitchen, pantry & laundry?
- Are there any substitutes they are happy with for certain products?
- Are there any products that they do not want a substitute for?
- If you can’t find something, are they happy for us to go to another supermarket, even if this takes additional time?
Take Your Time
Once you get to the supermarket, be prepared to take your time, especially your first trip.
Keep in mind that the first shop will always take the longest, so you will want to decide whether you’ll charge your client the full time, or only charge what would be reasonable for future shops.
Get your bearings. Where is the fruit & veg? Where are the dairy and freezer sections? Take a copy of the store’s layout map if they have one (often they can be found at the front of the store – or ask a staff member). When you get home you will no doubt have changes you want to make to the shopping list template in relation to the products you’ve purchased. I strongly suggest you also rearrange the layout of your shopping list so that it is in order of the route you will take in the store. I know this saves me a lot of time and backtracking.
Double check the brand, quantity, product name, size, light, skim, medium, no salt……. Numerous times I have found the soda water, grabbed three bottles, only to be unpacking and discover one of the soda water bottles was actually tonic water! Very frustrating!
Walk In Your Customer’s Shoes
When shopping for yourself you may be happy to grab the store brand version or whatever is on sale. Or you may never buy skim milk or green bananas. Remember, what you do when shopping for yourself has absolutely no bearing on what you do for you customer. They may be very specific on which brand of mustard they have and will make no exceptions. One of our clients wants 3 semi ripe bananas and 3 green bananas so they last the week. Another client only wants one very specific supermarket brand microwave curry. The problem was, in different stores of the same supermarket were different home brand microwave curry products! I couldn’t believe it and it took me 4 different stores (all the same brand) until I found the specific one my client wanted. What a relief.
A few tips for you:
- Always check the use by or best before dates and try to get the longest as possible – grab the bottle of milk at the very back if you have to.
- Check every piece of fruit and vegetable and try to get the very best pieces.
- Double check punnets of berries for mould – I’ve been caught out numerous times.
- Open the eggs to check if any of them are cracked.
- Don’t buy dented tins of food as they may be spoiled.
Be Prepared With A Backup Plan
So what happens if the client’s preferred mustard isn’t in stock? Do you know if they have a preferred substitute? Or are you going to have to travel to another supermarket? Ensure you leave some buffer time, and ideally you will have done some reconnaissance and know where the next nearest supermarket is which is most likely going to have that mustard in stock. Sometimes we have found that a client’s preferred supermarket simply doesn’t stock the product they want, so when we are shopping for another client at a different store, we will pick it up then.
The Little Things Are The Big Things
If you have paid for someone to do your grocery shopping, you need to be reinforced, especially in the beginning, that you have made the right decision. To have the lemons forgotten or the wrong kind of mustard bought, although inconsequential in relative terms, is a very big deal for your client. Do your best to get everything absolutely spot on. If you can’t, explain this clearly and quickly to your client, offer to deliver the next day, or buy the best you can but ensure them you will return it if it isn’t right.
The little things are of supreme importance, in all areas of a personal concierge service. If you get these right, if you get the right brand of mustard every time, then your customers will remain happy, loyal, and be happy to tell people about you.
Do you want a shopping list template? Become a member here and you can download a free Grocery Shopping Template in our Library – this is very close to the shopping list template I have been using for over 10 years.
Do you have any quirky, funny or frustrating grocery shopping stories? We’d love to hear them in the comments below!
Need some business advice? You can schedule a call with Abbie here - https://clarity.fm/abbieallen