Booze delivery apps in Toronto proliferate despite high prices
The pros of booze delivery in Toronto have yet to outweigh its biggest con, and that is that you can get your alcohol cheaper and faster if you just go to the store yourself.
Despite this, more Toronto-based booze delivery apps have been springing up on our smartphones over the last few years.
It's an opportune time for developers to cash out, given that the services offered by Ontario providers have proven less than satisfactory. There's nothing more sobering than having to wait at least three business days for your alcohol.
The LCBO has admittedly improved its booze arrival times since first rolling out its very slow and very expensive home-delivery service, but minimum orders are still $50 plus shipping charges. Plus, its new next-day service comes with an extra fee of $5.
While not as expensive, the Beer Store also has a minimum fee of $20 with a $10 delivery charge, which only seems worth it if you're ordering kegs.
These exorbitant prices are what make apps like Boozer and more recently, Runner, so attractive. Their services include same-day alcohol deliveries – within the hour for Boozer – and no minimum orders.
An additional positive is that these apps have tracking capabilities for spying fiendishly on your delivery guy while you await your booze.
But let's not pretend that these app delivery transactions are anywhere near affordable. The array of surcharges, taxes, tips and delivery fees will surely set you back more than the price of a token or drive to the LCBO ever could.
And then there's the setback of markups. Boozer has a general increased price of 15 percent on all its products, so an Ace Hill Pilsner that usually costs $2.95 at the Beer Store will $3.39 through the app. Now tack on a 15 percent surcharge and $10 delivery charge.
Same with Runner; a bottle of Nurtrl Vodka usually $38.45 at LCBO will set you back $42.30 instead – about 10 percent more, plus $10 to $15 in delivery fees.
And yet another problem: at least for now, both of these apps are only compatible with iOS which means it's inaccessible to 50 percent of smartphone owners who use Androids.
Throw in early cut-off times (none of these apps deliver past 11 p.m.) and limited delivery zones, and it seems that there's a ways to go before booze delivery will feel like a viable option for anyone capable of heading to a store.
There still are some pros, though. If you're stuck planning a social gathering and need to tidy and cook instead of shopping for booze at an LCBO location, the speedy delivery options might make the added costs worth your while.
Ditto if you just can't stand leaving the house in -25 temperatures. Having more delivery options is great, but here's hoping that more booze apps will eventually equal less sobering prices.
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