Like most people my age, I am terribly busy – with work and with life responsibilities. I dream of attaining work-life balance, a goal which remains as a work in progress for me.
But I am taking steps: I have applied all my existing bills to automatic debit on my bank account, including payments for the house and my two insurance premiums; and are now finding ways to optimize my post-paid usage to the point I can also predict my monthly use. In my mind, there’s nothing wrong with taking the easy option — especially when your hands are always full.
But what about other chores, like feeding the cats, cleaning the house and buying the groceries? These are tasks that looked mundane but can actually eat up a lot of your time. Take buying groceries, for example — while I consider browsing through shelves as a form of therapy, it’s the Manila traffic and the maddening crowd during weekends that usually gets to me.
That’s why I immediately said yes when I was invited to try out a new revolutionary start-up app called Easy Grocery:
The premise behind Easy Grocery is simple: the EasyGrocery app allows you to have someone do the grocery shopping for you. The goodies will be delivered to your home (at a time of your choosing and convenience), and paid through either through credit card, debit card or cash on delivery. It’s that simple.
While there are other grocery shopping app out there, the difference with EasyGrocery is that you will be in contact with their “runner” the whole time. The goodies you will pay for will be according to your liking — and there will be no errant or missing goodies in your shopping bag upon delivery.
Eugene Leoncio, president and developer of Easy Grocery explained that the concept of Easy Grocery is heavily based on the Filipino trait of “pakisuyo” where you will ask someone to do a light chore for you. Easy Grocery employs runners and motorcycled-delivery drivers who will scour groceries for your needs and deftly deliver your items within a 60-minute guaranteed time. As the app is currently in its infancy, it is currently available for Makati and BGC addresses (with access to groceries located in these areas).
So how’s my Easy Grocery shopping you ask?
My Easy Grocery shopping experience started when I downloaded their app (available in iOS and Android). The opening screen will ask you the input your location (Makati for me), which will then show the grocery stores available for your specific location. In my case, I chose Rustan’s Glorietta 4 (where I actually do my groceries IRL).
From there, you will see the items available for the particular store, classified according to their SKUs – like Babies, Canned Goods, Dairies/Frozen Food, etc.
The photo below shows the summary of the things I ordered, including the order number which was the numbers at the top-center of the screen, and the status and price of the items and the total amount of my groceries:
The diapers and milk is for my niece, Penny while the rest is for our weekly food stash.
As a shopper, you will be able to see if your items are In Process, In Basket, For Pick-up or In-Transit. In process means that the runner is still looking for your items, in basket means they already found the item and are now in your grocery cart; while For Pick-up means that the items have been bagged and paid for and now are waiting for the delivery guy or rider to arrive. Finally, in transit means the grocery items are now on their way to your specified delivery address.
For cases where your specified item is out of stock, Easy Grocery’s runner will call you or message you (similar to Grab or Uber) to let you know, and will give you options for a replacement.
As soon as the items are marked “In Transit,” you can track the rider and see if he is already near your location:
Because the app is still new — it can’t be helped that there are still areas for improvement. In my case, the app still showed “In Process” on top, but the status of my groceries are already “In Transit.” For cases like these, the rider will contact you and make sure you are informed on the status of your groceries. Similar to ride-sharing apps, you can give stars to the riders to rate their performance.
Here’s how the Easy Grocery rider looks like:
The rider is outfitted with the Easy Grocery shirt and carries a huge (and heavy) customized bag which is heavily padded to protect your grocery items.
The bags are also insulated to protect frozen foods, and as you can see, there are divisions inside to make sure that all items will fit nicely and snugly. The rider will then arrange your items, double check content and then place them to the Easy Grocery bag ecobag before handing them over to you.
For all that convenience, Easy Grocery only charges PHP100 for the “runner” and PHP100 for the “rider;” a total of PHP200, which is small change really compared to the hassle of getting a cab or a Grab/Uber, falling in line, getting hungry and eating out (another expense on top of your grocery budget) and most especially, finding the time out of your busy schedule. The PHP200 fee will be included in your total bill, so there are no surprises or hidden charges at all.
So, what’s the verdict?
I like Easy Grocery for the convenience it affords people. Imagine if you just need to buy cat food or kitty litter, or just missing a few ingredients for your dinner party. Instead of taking precious time away from you, you can easily have these items bought for you just by using Easy Grocery.
The app’s commitment to customer service and delivering a good experience for its user is also commendable. I love how its runners and riders can communicate with the shopper, thus lessening the ease of not having control to the shopping experience.
BUT, of course — it still has areas for improvement:
- Increase reach to other localities and more groceries – more areas and shops covered, which will bring the experience to other people living outside the pilot areas of Makati and BGC
- More items on the shelves please! I was looking forward to buying rice, coffee, sugar, fruit juice, cat food and kitty litter. These six actually constitute my life’s basic necessities.
- Fix bugs on the system to ensure customer convenience and peace of mind
The developers has assured us that they are now working double time to address these concerns. To their credit, I saw how they were personally handling queries from us who were encountering problems during the ordering process.
During our conversation, Leoncio also expressed his hopes to expand the app’s capability and graciously listened and welcomed suggestions from our end. After all, Easy Grocery is a labor of love by Leoncio, who first thought of the app for his wife who was also busy juggling work and household chores.
Will I try it again?
Definitely, and in a heartbeat! I am looking forward to using Easy Grocery as soon as the busy Christmas season rears its ugly head. I look forward to enjoying preparing our Christmas and New Year dinner without having to go through a harrowing experience at the grocers, where everyone seemed out for blood just to have the last piece of queso de bola and jamon serrano.
I love how, in spite being heavily-centric on technology, the app still takes great care to please and communicate with its customers.
I think Easy Grocery is on the right track, and given the right push and improvements, it’s set to revolutionize our grocery shopping experience.