Buy from different stores through honestbee

When a customer orders from honestbee's website, it engages shoppers to pick up the items from a store, before delivering them within the next hour. Customers pay the shelf price.
When a customer orders from honestbee's website, it engages shoppers to pick up the items from a store, before delivering them within the next hour. Customers pay the shelf price.ST PHOTO: DANIEL NEO

GROCERY LIST

From Cold Storage

• Ginger (200g Malaysia old ginger, $2)

• Pandan (50g Malaysia pandan leaf, $0.65)

• Chinese parsley (50g Malaysia Chinese parsley, $2.30)

• Chicken rice chilli (250g Tiger chilli sauce with garlic and ginger, $2.35)

• Cucumber (500g Malaysia cucumber, $1.13)

Chicken (1kg kampung chicken, $8.65)

From FairPrice

• Rice (5kg SongHe Thai rice, $14.50)

• Chicken rice paste (370g Prima Taste Hainanese Chicken Rice, $6.90)

• Ginger paste (174g Soup Restaurant Samsui ginger sauce, $6.80)

• Dark sauce (320ml Tai Hua standard dark soya sauce, $1.25)

• Delivery: For first-time users, the minimum order is $10, and delivery is free.

For subsequent orders, the minimum order is $30, and delivery is free. Free delivery is a limited-time offer (honestbee could not say when it will expire).

• Total: $46.53 for the items.

ORDERING

Two-month-old honestbee is a grocery concierge service, which means that the company does not have its own inventory of items.

Rather, when a customer orders from its website, honestbee engages an army of shoppers to pick up the items from a store, before delivering them within the next hour.

Stores that customers can buy from through honestbee include NTUC FairPrice, Cold Storage and Pet Lovers Centre. Customers are charged the shelf price, and the company's profit comes from deals struck with these retailers.

Ordering from honestbee was straightforward. I put in my postal code and then selected a retailer to buy from. Items are clearly categorised and its search function is effective.

However, I could not search for items across retailers at the same time, which means that if I wanted to buy an item which multiple shops had, I had to manually look through the catalogue of each store to find the best deals.

DELIVERY

My delivery time slot was 11am to noon , so I was surprised when I got a call at 10.15am from honestbee.

It turned out that one of the items I ordered - Tiger chilli sauce with garlic and ginger - was out of stock. The shopper asked me if I would like to replace it with Sin Sin ginger garlic chilli sauce instead.

I said yes to the swop. If a shopper calls or texts you and does not get a reply within five minutes, he or she will move on to the next item on the list, says honestbee's website.

All the items arrived at 11.45am. Although they were still packaged in plastic bags from the respective supermarkets, honestbee placed the groceries into two reusable grocery bags, which was nice.

All the groceries were there as promised, and the fresh vegetables and chicken were blemish-free, most likely because they were selected by an honestbee shopper just minutes before.

Lisabel Ting

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 07, 2015, with the headline 'Buy from different stores through honestbee'. Print Edition | Subscribe