H-E-B earns top spot for best online grocery experience in new national study

Curbside delivery
Curbside delivery (H-E-B)

H-E-B was named Grocer of the Year in 2020 by industry publication Grocery Dive. In another recent report it was ranked the nation’s second-best grocer. Glassdoor ranked H-E-B the tenth-best place to work in the nation.

Now, the beloved Texas grocer has acquired yet another accolade -- The San Antonio-based supermarket chain was recently lauded for its online grocery experience in a new national study, which determined H-E-B leads 14 major U.S. grocery chains for customer satisfaction with e-commerce options like online shopping and curbside pickup.

RELATED: H-E-B announces free curbside pickup for orders over $35 at all Texas stores

H-E-B’s online grocery experience impressed customers with its in-stock availability, ability to schedule pickup times and good instructions on order pickup, according to research company Ipsos, which conducted the study.

“Perfect accuracy, no fees or minimums, and excellent communication help them lead the category,” researchers stated.

Using results from a consumer survey of 2,000 Americans, Ipsos researchers determined which online order attributes were significant performance indicators and which unimportant. Then, using data from 100 mystery shops per brand, researchers measured how well major brands across the country performed on five key performance indicators: User experiences of brands’ online and/or mobile ordering platforms, accuracy of orders and standards of product quality, how wait times were impacted by order volumes, whether pickup instructions were followed by associates and the availability of items and inclusion in online orders.

RELATED: H-E-B named one of the top 10 best places to work in 2021

The report found that 78 percent of Americans increased their use of in-store and curbside pickup options since the pandemic began in 2021. Even now, as the pandemic subsides, 69 percent of those surveyed said they expect to continue using e-commerce options at the same levels, if not higher.

In May, H-E-B rolled out free curbside pickup at more than 250 stores across the state. The supermarket chain no longer charges a $4.95 fee for curbside pickup orders -- as long as a minimum purchase of $35 is made. Orders must be at least $35 before taxes, discounts, promotions, or coupons. Orders less than $35 are charged $2.95.

H-E-B’s curbside service, which grew in popularity amid the pandemic, offers “Texans an easier, more convenient way to shop for the products they want and need, and we are excited to now offer this service free to all our H-E-B customers,” said Rachael Vegas, Senior Vice President of eCommerce Merchandising, in a May 17 release.

Texans can place an H-E-B Curbside order through the My H-E-B mobile app or online at heb.com. Orders must be placed at least four hours prior to the scheduled pick-up time. Customers may place orders anytime and can schedule orders up to seven days in advance. All Curbside orders offer contactless service, a convenience which allows shoppers to remain in their vehicle while their order is loaded.

RELATED: H-E-B recognized as ‘Grocer of the Year’ for adaptability amid coronavirus pandemic

H-E-B launched its curbside service in 2015. Just three years prior, H-E-B began selling its products online. Fun fact: The first item sold on heb.com was a custom-made cake.

After curbside pickup came home delivery. H-E-B initially offered delivery through third-party services, but upped its e-commerce offerings when, in 2018, it acquired the Austin-based Favor delivery service.

“As we continue to see the adoption and usage of digital offerings rise, it is critical for brands to ensure a seamless and safe end-to-end e-commerce experience to keep customers coming back,” said Carlos Aragon, Vice President of Ipsos Channel Performance, in a release. “Knowing which brands are leading the pack – and more importantly, why – is critical to succeeding in the e-commerce economy.”

According to the Ipsos study, the other top grocery chains offering an impressive online shopping experience include Publix, ranked No. 2, and Aldi, ranked No. 3.


About the Author:

Briana Zamora-Nipper joined the KPRC 2 digital team as a community associate producer in 2019. During her time in H-Town, she's covered everything from fancy Houston homes to tropical storms. Previously, she worked at Austin Monthly Magazine and KAGS TV, where she earned a Regional Edward R. Murrow award for her work as a digital producer.