Big supermarkets’ delivery services rated

Australians are doing more grocery shopping online than ever. Now, a leading consumer advocate has compared the online shopping experiences of two supermarket giants to see who does it better.

As the pandemic unfolded, Coles and Woolworths expanded their delivery and pick-up services, providing several online options that meant customers either didn’t have to leave home or didn’t have to go any further than the boot of their car once arriving in the supermarket carpark.

So how did the ‘big two’ compare?

The CHOICE analysis was based on three main factors, checking to see if the supermarkets:

  • delivered all the items ordered, or at least provided adequate substitutions
  • delivered within the specified delivery window
  • had websites that were easy to use.

Read: Want to save money on groceries? Here’s a little secret

Using those criteria, Woolworths, or as it is more affectionately known, Woolies, came in with an overall rating of 93 per cent, ahead of the Coles score of 89 per cent.

The Woolies performance score – calculated via a combination of order accuracy and delivery accuracy – came in at an impressive 96 per cent, in front of Coles’ 92 per cent.

Looking at delivery accuracy alone, Coles excelled in this area, with 100 per cent of deliveries completed in the nominated time window. Woolworths lagged slightly in this department, with a score of 80 per cent.

Read: Coles teams up with startup to deliver groceries by drone

As someone who used Woolworths online delivery service for a good portion of lockdown, this score seems about right to me. The Woolies app provided updates of the delivery time window, which was handy, but I found that on delivery day that time window would often be pushed back as the day progressed.

This was mitigated to a degree by the app advising when my delivery was ‘next in line’, but on several occasions that step was bypassed and the groceries arrived before I was home.

In the ‘ease of use’ category, the two supermarkets rated pretty evenly, with Woolworths’ 81 per cent just ahead of Coles on 79 per cent. These scores were calculated using a desktop computer, combining weighted scores for account set-up (10 per cent), item selection (50 per cent), order administration (20 per cent) and returns (20 per cent).

Again drawing on my Woolworths experience, I found that replacement products were very rarely needed, and on the odd occasion they were the replacement was adequate.

Read: Save with these tips to make groceries last longer

Over 14 months, and 34 fortnightly deliveries, I experienced only one case of a delivery ‘mix-up’ with several items not delivered at all, but two bags of groceries from (presumably) someone else’s order included with mine. In that case, Woolies refunded the amount for the missing items using an online form that involved little fuss.

Depending on the amount of your grocery spend, the delivery fees for Coles and Woolworths are relatively similar, with both offering free delivery if you spend more than $250.

The two also offer delivery ‘subscription’ services, Coles Plus costing $19 a month and Woolworths Delivery Unlimited slightly cheaper at $15 per month. Woolies offers a further discount if you sign up for a full year.

CHOICE also rated IGA supermarkets, but its delivery service rating came in well short of the big two, with an overall score of just 76 per cent.

All in all, when it comes to choosing between grocery delivery options, it seems you’re unlikely to find much difference between Coles and Woolworths, but experiences can vary from location to location, so it might pay to … ahem … shop around.

Did you switch to online grocery shopping during the pandemic? Are you still doing a lot of supermarket shopping online? Are you happy with the delivery experiences? Why not share your experience and thoughts in the comments section below?

Andrew Gigacz
Andrew Gigacz
Andrew has developed knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income and government entitlements, as well as issues affecting older Australians moving into or living in retirement. He's an accomplished writer with a passion for health and human stories.


  1. I work at Woolies where we have online, difference is if from store or distribution centre, our store, if no stock, give you even better or more of what you originally ordered. Only the best is selected for online shoppers. Click and collect is free, and no price increase

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