InstantGrocery review: Maybe the worst app I’ve had the displeasure of using

InstantGrocery is one of several "instant" delivery service apps that have popped up in Australia. But sadly the app is really quite bad.

Pros

  • A text was sent to let me know one of the orders would not be fulfilled
Cons

  • The app is difficult to use
  • Very manual: you have to type in what you want with zero browsing options
  • The whole experience is a guessing game

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"Instant" delivery services have become immensely popular during the pandemic, with apps like MILKRUN taking off in some major Australian cities. One of these is InstantGrocery, which aims to deliver groceries to people in a short period of time. Unfortunately, this is the worst of the bunch that I tried. Furthermore, it's probably the worst app experience of my life.

Service

InstantGrocery review

Image: Tegan Jones/Finder

In terms of the service offered by the app itself – it's terrible.

The entire experience feels like a guessing game. Firstly you have to pick from a huge list of stores. From there you have to physically type in what you're looking for and hope they have it.

It is not a useful experience conducive to actually ordering things. Furthermore, often really basic and logical things just don't pop up – for example, searching for milk when you have Woolworths selected or Panadol when you're trying Chemist Warehouse.

In fact, it will present quite weird and random options for basic searches. When I tried "ice cream" I was served up "Aunty Betty's Creamy Rice Dairy Free Coconut Milk" and sour cream and chives rice cakes. Similarly, a search for "milk" at Woolworths presented me with everything but actual milk. It was very frustrating.

When I did manage to select some items, the checkout process was fine but unlike other apps, you're given no indication on how long the delivery will take. But according to the website deliveries should happen within 2 hours.

In my case, this didn't matter anyway. It wasn't long before I received a text saying "We are currently short of drivers in your area due to isolation rules."

On the plus side, I appreciated the text and the fact my card wasn't charged, so I don't have to wait for a refund. So I would call that aspect of the service good, even if the whole "no drivers" thing in the middle of the Sydney CBD seems quite strange.

Interestingly, the order history has now been cleared which I find odd.


InstantGrocery item range

InstantGrocery review

Image: Tegan Jones/Finder

Again, this is quite difficult to navigate.

The list of possible stores is big though – from supermarkets to Bunnings to specific small local stories. And in theory this is a good thing, but not when you have no option to browse and have to manually type in something you know you're looking for.

Also, I don't think it is using any kind of location data to whittle the list down. At the time of writing I have the option to select "Dosa Hut Penrith" despite being in the Sydney CBD.

Still, there was certainly a wide range of products available due to the sheer scale of store options. But it was very hard to then dig into them and this may be a contributing factor in not being able to have my attempted orders fulfilled.


InstantGrocery Fees and prices

InstantGrocery review

Like everything with the InstantGrocery app, it was difficult to tell if you were getting a good price. This is because you have to manually select which store you wanted to use and then type in a product.

I did manage to work out that the pricing does seem to be relatively on par with some of its competitors. For example, 2L of milk was $3.50, which is the same as Voly and just 10c more expensive than MILKRUN. But even then, it took far too long to be able to work that out.

The real downfall here is the delivery price, which sits at a whopping $15 in the Sydney CBD. That's $9 more expensive than Quicko, which I also called out for being quite pricey.

Meanwhile, Voly is just $1.99 and MILKRUN is $2.99, or completely free if you spend over $30.

And considering how poor the actual ordering experience is, I struggle to come to terms with delivery fees that high. That's more expensive than some of Woolworths' and Coles' delivery offerings.


How to use the InstantGrocery app

InstantGrocery review

Image: Tegan Jones/Finder

My advice is: don't.

But if you must, it's a very different experience to competitor apps. Most are streamlined and easy to use. You'll find a plethora of categories to browse and choose from; generally some cheap deals, too.

That is not the case with InstantGrocery. As I detailed above, every aspect of the experience is very manual and lacks any visual cues to help you browse or select items.

If you do want to try it, you can find it on iOS and Android.


Should you use InstantGrocery?

  • Use it if: you enjoy frustrating app experiences
  • Don't use it if: you have literally any other option for instant delivery services

In addition to having the most expensive delivery option, this was the worst app experience of my life. It was frustrating to navigate the app and when I finally made it through the gauntlet, the order was cancelled anyway.

Every other instant delivery service is likely to be better than this one.


How we tested

We attempted to use the InstantGrocery app several times in the Sydney CBD. While we were able to complete the orders they were not delivered. It's worth noting that we also were not charged. We tested this alongside several other instant delivery service apps.

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