I have a dilemma.

I really hate going to the grocery store. I know, I know, just order online you’re thinking. That’s a great idea except that I love to touch things before I buy them. I hadn’t really thought about why that is until now. I found an online “grocery store” who’s mission I can get on board with. It’s called Brandless.

Brandless is all about skipping inefficiencies to bring the product straight from the source to you. They claim that because they do this that they’re able to cut the cost of the products and pass those savings onto the consumer. I’m no economist but I do believe there’s merit to this. I’ve long since known that most generic products are just as quality as the brand name products. They’re just cheaper. Much cheaper sometimes. Here’s Brandless’s model explaining the system:

brandless flow model

It seems pretty great to me and I’d like to try it; however, back to my dilemma.

If I shop online, I can’t touch the products before buying them. As a designer, I love to examine packaging. Its feel, its smell, its colors, the fonts used, the weight of the package in my hand, etc. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve been influenced to by one product over another based on packaging. If the packaging is good and the price is reasonable, I’ll probably buy it over a similar, cheaper product. This is not necessarily because I think it’s better, I just like the packaging more.

I’m also struggling with brand loyalty. I’m not into buying a brand just because it’s well known. I certainly am into buying brands that I know and trust. It’s comforting to pick a package up off of the shelf and know exactly what it contains, exactly how I’ll use it, and exactly how it’ll taste or perform.

Due to these hangups, I’ve avoided the whole online grocery experience.

Brandless feels different than other online groceries. It might be my quirky sense of humor in that their brand is “brandless” (insert I’m a geek giggle here). The packaging for all of the products are simple, straight-forward, and systemized. I love that you can shop by aisle or values:

brandless website search categories

I even dig the look of their packaging. I have to say that I’m pretty impressed thus far but I CAN’T TOUCH IT BEFORE I BUY IT.

I suppose I’m going to have to bite the bullet and just try it out. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Have you tried or want to try Brandless? What are your impressions?