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What Is the Best Time to Go Grocery Shopping? (At Your Local Store)

Going to grocery shopping during busy store hours can be a very unpleasant experience. In addition to jam-packed aisles with shopping carts and long checkout lines, there’s also a safety concern during the pandemic.

In this article, we’ll cover the best time to go grocery shopping and how to avoid busy hours at grocery stores.

The best time to go grocery shopping is when the stores are least crowded. You can find out the least crowded times at stores using Google Maps. Google Maps estimates busy hours at stores based on live data and historical visits at stores’ locations.

I’ll give you step by step instructions on using Google Maps to avoid busy hours at grocery stores. I’ll also provide additional tips to find the best time to go grocery shopping at your local store.

Just keep reading to find out more!

How to Use Google Maps to Avoid Busy Store Hours

Google Maps collects data from people who enabled the “Google Location” service on their mobile phones.

Using this data, Google Maps can estimate how busy the store is right now. It also calculates the historical data and shows you an average of the most and least crowded times at stores.

Using this information, you can find out the least crowded times at local stores any day of the week. It takes away the element of surprise and gives you valuable information before you head to the store.

You can follow the instructions below to find out the least crowded times at local grocery stores:

  1. Open the Google Maps app on your mobile or go to google.com/maps on your desktop

2. Type the grocery store name in the search box (or click “Groceries” to see all stores in your area)

3. Click or tap the store location to see more information

4. Scroll down to see the “Popular times” chart

5. You can see the “Live” data that estimates how busy the store is right now

6. Click or tap next to “Popular times” to find out how busy the store gets any day of the week

There are many studies on consumer behavior and in-store traffic patterns at grocery stores. But these studies only give average data across the sample size, and the actual situation may be different at your location.

If you live in a town with a big retirement community or a college campus, the busy hours at stores may differ from the average in your area.

There’s no one size fits all approach, and that’s why I suggest using Google Maps to find out more relevant data at your location.

One thing these studies agree on is to avoid grocery shopping on the weekends. Most people go to grocery shopping on weekends or after work between 6 pm – 8 pm on weekdays. These are the times you should avoid going to grocery shopping to have peace of mind. 

Next, I’ll share some additional tips to get the best deals, freshest produce, and the highest quality products when you go to grocery shopping.

Additional Tips for Grocery Shopping

We know how to use Google Maps to beat the crowds at grocery stores, but I wanted to give you some additional tips to maximize your overall grocery shopping experience.

Typically, you will have multiple days and times when your store is least crowded during the week. To pick the best time among these options, you need to consider other factors, such as weekly deals and the produce delivery dates.

1. How to Get the Best Quality Products

Most grocery stores restock their shelves late at night or early mornings. To get the best quality products, especially meat, dairy, and seafood, you should go to the store early to get the first pick on perishable items.

If you go later in the day, you may find products that were touched and left behind as less desirable options. Go early and get the first pick on perishables with the longest expiration date.

2. How to Get the Best Deals

Find out when your local grocery store releases new ads and specials for the week. Go to the store on that day to grab the latest sale items and specials before they run out.

If the store runs out of stock on an item that’s on sale, talk to customer service to get a raincheck to ensure you get the sale price when it’s back on the shelf.

According to Google Maps, the least crowded times at my grocery store are Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. I choose to go Wednesday mornings because they release new ads and specials on Wednesdays.

3. How to Get the Freshest Produce

Talk to your store manager and find out when they receive produce delivery. Each store has a different schedule, but if you want to get the freshest produce, go to the store on the day of delivery.

It’s best if you buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. You have a higher chance of picking the freshest products if you shop with seasons.

Use your hands to inspect products rather than staring and pick fruits and vegetables with tight skin and vibrant colors.

4. How to Beat the Holiday Crowd

Most people know grocery stores will be jam-packed the day before the holidays. They end up going two days before, and it gets as crowded. Do your grocery shopping three or four days before the holidays to beat the crowd.

Make a meal plan for the whole week and create a shopping list accordingly. Also, plan how to store perishables for a few days until you cook them. By making a shopping list, you won’t forget any items and avoid multiple trips to the store.

The shopping list also helps to reduce impulse buys and overspending on groceries. Organize your grocery list by aisle so you can quickly find items and check off from your list. It helps to minimize the time spent at the store, especially during the holidays.

Holiday grocery shopping can be stressful but planning ahead of time with meal prep is the key to success.

Summary

In this article, we learned how to use Google Maps to avoid busy hours at grocery stores. The best time to go grocery shopping is when the stores are least crowded, and you can shop with peace of mind.

Most people say Wednesday morning is the best time to go grocery shopping, but this may not be true at your location because each store has a different foot traffic.

Google Maps helps us to find the least crowded times at stores with relevant data to support.

We also learned additional tips to get the most out of your grocery store trips. We covered how to get the most quality products, find out insights on weekly deals, produce delivery dates, and shelf restocking schedules by talking to the store manager.

Online grocery shopping for home delivery or curbside pickup is also a great option if you want to avoid going to the stores completely.

Most grocery stores deliver groceries to your home through partnerships with companies like Shipt or Instacart.

If you’re interested in finding out more about online grocery shopping, you can check out the related articles below:

Related Articles:

What Grocery Stores Have Curbside Pickup? (And How It Works)

16 Grocery Stores With Home Delivery (And How Much It Costs)

10 Benefits of Online Grocery Shopping (And Why You Should Consider It)

Is Shipt Better Than Instacart? (Cost and Service Comparison)

Written by Erol

Erol has over 12 years of experience in the consumer goods industry. He launched many successful products for major brands, which are sold at big retailers like Walmart, Costco, Amazon, Target, Kroger, Publix, and more. He likes to write and share his experience with others. Outside of work, you can find him at a hiking trail in New England, or playing soccer with his kids.

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