We reviewed both apps and saw some surprising results
MANILA, Philippines — True to its promise of becoming an everyday super app for Filipinos, Grab in March introduced GrabMart, an on-demand grocery and essentials delivery service. It was a timely and significant response to the lockdown measures and restrictions that we all faced at the heels of the COVID-19 outbreak.
As a longtime Grab user, I’ve caught wind of GrabMart then, but haven’t managed to try it since I am not our household’s runner. That one person in the family in charge to run errands, buying groceries included.
It was only now that I decided to try GrabMart. I wanted to know for myself if it could actually beat going to the supermarket and ordering from similar delivery services, in terms of speed, convenience and overall experience.
Can GrabMart really deliver groceries and other essentials in less than 60 minutes, as part of its Bilis Promise?
Speedy service: Check!
First off, basing from our household’s supermarket runs and the few times I had to go there myself, shopping for groceries nowadays normally takes over an hour.
This is because of the safety protocols one has to follow inside the supermarket: checking of temperature, sanitizing, social distancing, sometimes waiting for your turn to enter due to the limited number of people allowed inside, and again waiting and lining up to pay at the cashier.
Instead of having to take the time to leave the house, follow the aforementioned safety protocols, browse through the whole store to complete your grocery list, and travel back home, you can just save time by ordering through the Grab app.
With store inventories integrated in the Grab system, even the GrabMart riders don’t have to go through the hassle of manually checking product availability.
Additionally, you are rest assured that your items will go through Grab’s safety and hygiene protocols as observed by its rider-partners.
In this regard, GrabMart’s Bilis Promise already takes the upper hand vs. shopping at supermarkets.
But how about in comparison to other apps like foodpanda, which also recently launched its similar on-demand delivery service?
There’s only one way to know: Try both apps.
With an allotted budget of P2,000, I was able to order over 10 similar food items in each app. For GrabMart it was Freshmart.ph, while for foodpanda, it was a 7-Eleven branch, but both stores were within 5-km distance from our house.
I placed the orders for both GrabMart and foodpanda at exactly 2:30 p.m. on the same day.
Seconds within placing the order, a rider accepted from Grab. As guaranteed by Bilis Promise, the estimated delivery time was 45 minutes, or sometime between 3:15 to 3:30 p.m. The order was simultaneously being prepared at the store while the delivery rider made his way there.
Compared to foodpanda, a rider only accepted once the order had been prepared at the store. But its estimated delivery time was shorter at 38 minutes. Delivery arrival was updating real time every minute that passed. Once the order was complete, a rider immediately accepted in foodpanda. By 2:46 p.m., he was already on the way.
The 7-Eleven order arrived first by 2:55 p.m., which was expected given the smaller size of the store, allowing store personnel to prepare and ship the orders faster.
Meanwhile, GrabMart notified that my order was on-the-way at 3:01 p.m., with a note that the rider was dropping off another order along the way. With this, the estimated delivery time was adjusted to 3:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
I wouldn’t say this was unfortunate; instead it was understandable given the situation we are all in. Grab explained in the app that orders of nearby customers may be grouped to improve delivery efficiency so more people can receive their items, with the promise that orders will still arrive soon.
Knowing this, I was surprised that the order arrived at 3:30 p.m. on the dot—exactly 60 minutes since time of booking!
This only means that GrabMart’s Bilis Promise delivers in 60 minutes, even for grouped orders on Grab’s end.
Store and item selections: Winner!
While foodpanda’s order did arrive earlier than GrabMart’s, GrabMart still beat foodpanda in terms of selection of stores and items.
This is because since its launch, GrabMart has already expanded its operations and now has over 200 outlets across all cities of Metro Manila. Its merchants range from leading supermarkets, convenience stores, pharmacies, to specialty stores and smaller retailers.
This was evident the moment I opened GrabMart, which grouped the stores into Grocery Store, Fresh and Frozen, Asian Mart and Pharmacies. I could also choose based on more specific categories such as pantry supplies, beverage, personal care, ready-to-eat, egg and dairy, among others.
There really were so many options to choose from, including big supermarkets like Robinsons Supermarket and Ultra Mega Supermarket, fresh fruits and vegetables suppliers like Dizon Farms and Zagana, and convenience stores like Lawson and FamilyMart.
This was the opposite in foodpanda, which listed only 7-Eleven branches near me, as well as some other stores like Mumuso and Bake My Day. There weren’t really grocery stores to choose from.
Also, I was already familiar with the items inside a convenience store, compared to my shopping experience at Freshmart.ph via GrabMart. I was excited with the healthy and natural options for snacks, beverages, canned goods and dairy.
Ease of interface and payment: A plus!
In terms of app interface, GrabMart and foodpanda are easy to understand and navigate, especially for someone who is a regular user of both.
I could browse the items in a store based on categories, choose the desired items, as well as adjust the number of items, then add to cart. Once orders were complete, I could proceed to checkout. No lining up at cashiers required.
foodpanda, however, showed and crossed out items that were sold out from the store. It was able to update the payment amount real time. This was okay since the payment option was only COD (cash on delivery).
With GrabMart, you can pay using GrabPay, the reloadable e-wallet service of Grab. Of course, I used this option for a contactless payment and delivery. This gave me added peace of mind, aside from the ease and convenience from the service, which is exactly the commitment of Grab as we all try to overcome this crisis.
Since the start of the pandemic, the super app has immediately raised its safety and hygiene standards not only for its customers, but also for its riders. Its contactless payment is just one of the many steps that Grab has undertaken aside from contactless delivery and takeaway, and educating safety measures with partner merchants, among others.
The feature I really loved with GrabMart was that it allowed me to add a tip to the rider, even if payment was contactless.
It was also notable that at GrabMart, the items that were out of stock were already visible. When one beverage that I placed was unexpectedly out of stock, the store called to inform me. They were able to replace it with a different flavor.
GrabMart saves you time
Overall, I highly recommend using GrabMart for your grocery and essential needs especially when you lack the time to visit your nearest supermarket. When I placed my order, it allowed me to work at home while waiting for the delivery to arrive.
Additionally, with GrabMart offering a wider range of supermarkets, drugstores, and specialty stores compared to foodpanda, you can save more time by getting your essentials—from snacks, fresh and frozen food, medicine, and even gadgets—all through the Grab app.
Moreover, you also get added peace of mind by staying in the safety of your home, while Grab’s quality service does the rest.