The Startup
Published in

The Startup

How to Put Your Groceries on Auto-Pilot: No Ordering or Shopping Necessary

Grocery shopping is a huge pain. You have to:

  • Put the list together
  • Drive to the store
  • Walk around looking for all of it
  • Wait in line to check out
  • Bring it all back to your place…

And you might be thinking “Yeah but Nat, that’s a normal part of life.”

Screw that!

I figured out a way to completely automate my grocery shopping so that I never had to deal with it again, and so that you don’t have to either.

This system will get all of the groceries you need automatically delivered to your house each week without you ever having to go to the store, or even having to find them on a delivery service.

All you do is record what you need, and the system takes care of the rest.

There are two ways to do this, the basic version and the pro version. The pro version is fucking awesome and feels like you’re living in the future, but the basic version will work too (it’s just not quite as hands-off).

What You’ll Need (Both Versions):

  1. Google Docs account (as if you didn’t already have one…)
  2. Instacart account
  3. Personal assistant service (FancyHands works, I use a dedicated VA though)
  4. Zapier account

What Else You’ll Need for the Pro Version:

  1. IFTTT account (Zapier unfortunately doesn’t integrate with Echo)
  2. Amazon Echo

Step One: Make Your Accounts

First off, if you didn’t already in the intro (or you skipped here you cheater), you need to make accounts with Instacart, Zapier, IFTTT, and get a VA.

Good work, now we can get started.

Step Two: Make a “Grocery List”

This is going to be a single Google Spreadsheet that you re-use each week. Just create one column heading for “Item” or something like that, and then move on.

Now, if you’re being lame and doing the basic version… you have to manually add your groceries here as the week goes on.

But if you’re cool and doing the pro version…

Step Three: Connect Alexa to Your List

The Amazon Alexa has a “grocery list” feature which we’re going to use to populate our shopping list.

Normally, Alexa’s list lives within the app, BUT we can export it to our Spreadsheet using this IFTTT recipe:

Just set it up to automatically add every new item in your shopping list to the Grocery List spreadsheet you made.

Now, as the week goes on, you can just tell Alexa what you need and she’ll add it to the spreadsheet.

Step Four: Get Your Groceries Delivered

When you want your groceries, all you have to do is send your grocery list spreadsheet to your VA, give them access to your Instacart account, and ask them to order everything to be delivered in a certain time frame and then put the delivery time on your calendar.

Or… we can do this part automatically too.

All you need to do is pre-write an email that you can send to your VA with instructions and a link to the grocery list.

For example:

Hey [name],

I need some groceries delivered. Here’s a link to everything I need:


You should have access to my Instacart account, but if not, here’s my credentials:


Please have them deliver it tomorrow between 6 and 9pm, and add it to my calendar once you know what time they’re coming.

Use [store preference e.g. Whole Foods] to get everything.

Once you’re done, delete the items on the list. If any problems come up or you can’t find something, call me.


You could use this same email every time, you just need a way to send it out.

Here are my favorites (with links to their corresponding Zapier or IFTTT recipes):

But really, you can connect almost anything to your Gmail and have it automatically send.

Now you just sit back, relax, and let your groceries get delivered to you on auto pilot!

That was easy :)

Nat does Marketing for SumoMe. Get more awesomeness from him here.

Published in Startups, Wanderlust, and Life Hacking





Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +756K followers.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Nat Eliason

Nat Eliason

Writing & Building on Ethereum

More from Medium

How to Improve Your Life with Herbs

Investing in the future of equitable and empowering education

There is beauty in small numbers

Your Daily Dose: “Inspired Action”