Today, Spartan Square Kroger will introduce online shopping, creating 25 new jobs in the area. The store is only the second in Virginia west of Richmond to introduce the company’s “ClickList” program.
ClickList began testing in 2014, with over 120 of the nation’s approximate 2,800 Kroger stores now participating. According to George Anderson, e-Commerce manager of the Mid-Atlantic Dvision, customers are willing to drive miles for the service. The other participating Kroger store, located in Bonsack, attracts customers from as far as Covington, he said. The jobs that are created include selectors, who pick products, and car attendants, who deliver orders car-side.
The Spartan Square Kroger, located on West Main Street, was chosen because of its location on the other side of the valley, and because a major remodeling project was just completed at the store. It will be the 10th store in the six-state Mid-Atlantic Division to utilize the service. Through ClickList, customers can place orders online, with the ability to choose from more than 40,000 items. Through the service, shoppers never have to get out of their car.
Six parking spots have been designated for online shoppers. Orders must be placed by midnight, and can be picked up between 8 a.m.- 9 p.m. the following days, as specified by the customer. Orders are kept fresh until pickup in a curbside room, which includes a freezer and refrigerator. The program is meant to save time, and according to Anderson, will be especially beneficial to busy families, business professionals, those living with disabilities and senior citizens.
“People often pull-in with two, three or four children, and say, ‘Thank you for the service. Not only was I able to shop for my groceries in bed, but it saves me money, because I buy a lot of what I want rather than impulse,’” Anderson said. “The number one thing we are hearing is ‘thank you for the convenience.’”
Selectors use an electronic device that displays customers’ orders, as well as the products’ location in the store, to determine the most efficient route to shop. Jonathan Snyder, ClickList supervisor, has been with the company for 10 years, and will be training new employees. Snyder said with the device, selectors pick up to six orders at a time, and are able to complete even the largest orders within about 30 minutes.
The update could also benefit traditional shoppers, as more online shoppers could mean less traffic inside of the store. Bill Belcher, originally from West Virginia, is new to Salem, where he has been store manager for about five months.
“There’s been a lot of interest in it,” Belcher said. “We had a hiring event two weeks ago. I really feel like it will be a real win-win for the area.”
There is no dollar minimum required for the service. Digital coupons loaded on shoppers Kroger Plus Cards will be automatically applied at the time of purchase and paper coupons can also be redeemed.
For the time being, customers will pay car-side. However, Anderson said the program will eventually allow for online payment. There is a $4.95 fee for the service, which will be waved for customers’ first three visits. The only items not available to order online are alcohol, tobacco, prescriptions, hot food and gift cards. Visit www.kroger.com to try out the service. If an item is out of stock, customers can choose whether or not they want a substitution item, which is often a larger-size item at the same price.