The local Wal-Mart stores in Clearfield and DuBois are now participating in the company’s store Grocery Pick-up program, which will allow shoppers to place online orders with a Wal-Mart grocery app, and have them delivered right to their vehicle.
The program, which has been available in some other Wal-Mart locations across the country, has only recently been launched in local stores. It will allow customers to select the merchandise they would normally select in store from the comfort of their phones and computers.
According to Store Manager Josh Kunkle, customers simply need to use the app to pick out items, reserve a time and date for pick-up and place the order.
“Then we do all the shopping for them … they pull into designated spots on the side of our store and we bring it out and load it up and they’re good to go,” he says.
The pick-up area is on the side of the building, outlined with orange coloring and signs. Customers can check in using their phone app or can call to have the delivery brought out.
Kunkle says it’s a huge time saver for families with multiple places to be and people that are busy with work, and that many people are taking advantage of the program locally.
According to Kunkle, the busy families and workers who use the service to save time are shoppers who already frequent the store. But the store has also been seeing new shoppers, or “customers who maybe wouldn’t have come to Wal-Mart before.”
Besides individuals who work all week and don’t want to spend multiple hours on their days off at the grocery store, he feels the program can also help people with mobility issues, and says that the program has been a benefit to those who have trouble getting around.
“We have also had some customers come through who have said they have a really hard time walking and getting through the store,” Kunkle says, adding “this has been convenient for them to just be able to place their order and then just drive in and be loaded up.”
Whether or not the program lives up to the customers’ time saving or accessibility expectations in the long-term remains to be seen, but according to Kunkle, the store has received great feedback from customers who have used the service.
“It’s a huge success … we had a lot of great feedback from the customers that have used it.” In particular, he says, customers were pleased with how accurate their orders have been and how good the quality of produce has been, both of which were an initial concern for customers.
“That was one of the things a lot of folks were worried about at first … all the reviews we’ve had have been really good … they’ve been really impressed with (you know) the quality of the merchandise they’re getting and the service of the folks that bring it out to their car.”
The primary thing he wants customers to know is that the grocery pick-up is not just for grocery items, but can be used for anything from food, to house wares, to sporting goods and various consumable products.
“It doesn’t just include groceries; it can be anything from across the store that we carry,” Kunkle says. A feature also worth noting is that the app can remember purchases for a customer’s next order, which he calls “very convenient.”
Aside from convenience, those trying out the program can also save some money, as the company is offering various promotions as it continues to build the program.
Kunkle says the store has different promos being launched on a regular basis, and that customers can contact the store, or the pick-up team to find out about specific discount codes that can be applied at the time of purchase, as they change from time to time.
In addition, after their first purchase with the program, customers will receive an e-mail with another savings offer. The e-mail will include a referral style code that customers can share with friends, and if any friend they e-mail uses and places an order through the grocery app (for their first order), the customer who referred the friend will get $10 off of their next order and the friend will receive $10 off their first program purchase.
Customers with questions and those in need of assistance are encouraged to call the store.
Kunkle says the program will “definitely continue” and is not going away, due to its popularity for Wal-Mart as a company nationwide.
As the program grows, Kunkle says the local stores may build upon the grocery pick-up program by potentially getting involved with home delivery service.
According to Kunkle, a home delivery program is not yet in the local stores, but is something that “would build upon the program and over time, come to the area.”
Nationally, Wal-Mart has rolled out delivery programs with varying results. According to Wal-Mart’s Web site, home delivery is only available in select markets.
As the program grows, it will be interesting to see how the growth affects workers at the local stores, and whether or not a home delivery service would create more jobs, or have existing workers take on new roles.
The associates involved in the current pick-up program are primarily Wal-Mart associates who were already working in the store. They are responsible for picking orders and dispensing orders to the vehicle, but do not take on other jobs outside of the program.
Kunkle says, we “picked and trained folks that were already working for us … who were in the store but wanted to do this job instead because it is something new and exciting.”
They also added a salaried assistant manager that oversees the team, and about 15 jobs to the store, according to Kunkle. He says that as the business grows, more jobs will be added.