Category Archives: Customer Service

New Level of Customer Service Goes “Beyond” Home Delivery of Groceries

Walmart is expanding the online grocery shopping experience by going “beyond” home delivery. According to a recent SupermarketNews article, certain Walmart stores are delivering groceries not just to more homes, but also inside them.

This new service will be launching in the fall when associates will deliver groceries right to a customer’s refrigerator, or to other designated areas inside shoppers’ homes, such as garages or pantries. Various methods are incorporated into the process to ensure security and to allow customers to actually view the delivery from remote locations.

“Online grocery remains a meaningful contributor to e-commerce growth,” Walmart’s Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs is quoted to say in the article. “Customers continue to really appreciate our grocery pickup and delivery offerings as we scale them across the U.S., …they want product faster than ever before, and Walmart is the best-positioned in the industry to deliver grocery same-day.”

Unique Customer Service at Stew Leonard’s

While their approach to customer service and providing an enjoyable shopping experience may be anything but traditional, Stew Leonard’s has a tried-and-true motto: “The customer is always right!”

As reported in a recent SupermarketNews article, there are aisles filled with animatronic singing poultry and vegetables, stuffed creatures that flip, and a selfie station where customers can pose for pictures with Clover the cow in a replica of Stew’s milk truck.

Yesterday & Today
For those who have been customers over the years, these “extras” are common place. Ever since the first Stew Leonard’s opened in 1969 they’ve been tabbed as “the Disneyland of Dairy Stores.” Today the grocery still relishes the country-fair atmosphere.

But the zaniness has not compromised how vital customer service and product scouting are to the growing company. (There are now six Stew Leonard’s locations now in New York and Connecticut, with a seventh planned for New Jersey in the fall).

“Customers rule when it comes to choosing what products the stores sell,” says Stew Leonard, Jr., the president and CEO who took the business over from his dad in the 1990s. “You’ve got to listen to the customers really and hear what they have to say.”

Read the full article…

Publix Adds Telehealth Stations to Florida Stores

A recent SupermarketNews article reported that Publix Super Markets Inc. plans to open three telehealth stations inside Publix stores in St. Johns County and a Publix Pharmacy at Flagler Hospital in St. Augustine Florida.

According to the article, the telehealth stations will be housed in a private room where patients can speak directly with a doctor via video-conferencing. The physician will be able to direct patients to use on-site diagnostic tools such as stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs and high-definition cameras, and to make a diagnosis or write any necessary prescriptions. Publix Pharmacy support staff also will be on hand to assist patients.

The chain has partnered with Flagler Health+, a Florida-based health network, to provide these and related retail pharmacy and primary care services.

Read the full article…

Kroeger Introduces Kroger Ship

The trend toward on-line grocery shopping continues, as The Kroger Co. has introduced a new service that will compete directly with Amazon, Walmart and on-line grocery delivery providers like Instacart and Shipt according to a recent SupermarketNews article.

Kroger Ship, a direct-to-customer e-commerce platform that enables consumers to order from a selection of groceries on-line and have them delivered to their home is now being tested in four markets: Cincinnati; Houston; Louisville, Ky.; and Nashville, Tenn.

On-line shoppers can select from 4,500 Kroger own-brand products as well as more than 50,000 center store groceries and household essentials.

Home delivery via Kroger Ship is free for orders over $35 and costs $4.99 for smaller orders.

Read the full article…

Martin’s Supermarkets Expands On-line Shopping

According to a recent Business Briefs article, Martin’s Super Markets, a mid-west chain, is continuing to roll out of its online shopping service, which they call Groceries To Go, and which is now available at 12 of their 21 stores.

The Groceries-To-Go service costs $4.99 per order, the article explains. The process is also straightforward, as once users go online or download the app (on either iPhone or Android devices) and create an account they simply shop and choose a pickup time, and then pay. Someone at their chosen store then sends an email confirming receipt of the order, and then sends another email when the order is ready for pickup.

To pickup their order, customers simply park in designated areas and then text or call to announce their arrival. A “Personal Shopper” then brings the groceries and loads them into the customer’s vehicle.

Pharmacy prescriptions, alcohol and tobacco products are not available for online ordering, the article said. Log on to www.martinsgroceriestogo.com for more information.

The trend toward online shopping and an enhanced customer experience continues…

Kroger in the News Again: New Technology You Might Love!

According to a recent Business Insider article, Kroger is once again taking a bold step forward in trying to enhance the customer shopping experience by “rolling out a new technology to nearly 200 stores,that could change grocery shopping as we know it.”

This new development, which is called Kroger Edge, will be installed on store shelves in place of paper price tags, and will digitally display pricing and nutritional information, and even show video ads and coupons for various products.

The technology will enable the chain to instantly change prices and activate promotions across its stores, thus freeing up employees who would otherwise change prices by hand.

In the future, the technology will communicate with customers’ smartphones to help them complete their shopping lists.

On-line Food Retail Continues to Gain Momentum

A recent SupermarketNews article reported that Target will begin offering same-day delivery to customers in three metro areas—Boston, Miami and Minneapolis—starting Feb. 1.

The move comes following the retailer’s December acquisition of Shipt, the article said.

The article went on to say that online retail is picking up speed at an even faster rate than previously thought, and that both Food Marketing Institute and Nielsen data suggest 70% of consumers will shop for groceries online by 2024.

The trend toward on-line shopping is a strong one for sure, but supermarkets by-and-large have significantly improved the level of customer service and the in-store shopping experience.

The question is, how can they combine the two “experiences” to build stronger levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty?

Read the full article…

Customers King at Kroeger?

A recent SupermarketNews article reported that Kroger has launched a new improvement initiative to accelerate changes in assortments and better customer service.

While Kroeger has been in the news lately for considering the sale of its convenience stores, the new  “Restock Kroger” improvement initiative seems to be the bigger story. It will involve “an accelerated and more data-driven effort around pricing, personalized communications with customers, and a revamp of product assortments,” the article said.

“We will change the way people eat in the U.S.,” said Rodney McMullen, chairman and CEO. “If you are eating, we want to serve you. Unless you are eating in a white tablecloth restaurant, we want to be able to provide that meal for you.”

Read the full article… 

Groceries Delivered & Put-Away in Your Home?

According to a recent posting on techcrunch.com, Walmart has announced that it will begin testing a new service that will allow customers with August smart home devices, like the August doorbell and security cameras, to have their packages and groceries delivered inside their home instead of left on the doorstep. Grocery orders won’t just be placed inside the house like the packages, but will be put away in the fridge and freezer, when appropriate.

The retailer says it will soon start this test in the Silicon Valley area with select customers who have opted into to try the new service.

Sounds like continuous process improvement and the trend toward innovative customer service continues!

Read the full story…

The e-Trend Continues: Saving Shoppers Time & Money

A recent “10 Items or Lessarticle posted by SupermarketNews identified steps taken by major food retailers that indicate the focus on e-shopping will continue to grow in 2017.

The article states that Wal-Mart Stores plans to have around 1,100 stores offering online grocery pickup this year, and that they are continuing with initiatives built around making fulfillment more versatile and/or efficient, such as offering discounts on online orders picked up in stores, and testing the idea of having store employees deliver orders to customer’s homes on their post-work commutes.

The piece goes on to report that Amazon said it was rolling out “Instant Pickup,” a free service offering its Prime members a curated selection of “daily essentials” available for pickup in two minutes or less. The service is available at five campus locations currently with plans to add more locations soon.

Even no-frills Aldi had issued a statement indicating it was getting into e-commerce for the first time through a partnership with Instacart in three cities.

“Our partnership with Instacart is another example of Aldi expanding our commitment to customer convenience and value,” Jason Hart, CEO of Aldi, said. “We know customers are looking for new ways to save time and money.”

As these new services are being rolled-out, it strikes me that supermarket chains will need to take an innovative approach to refining their work processes to reduce waste and cost.

See related article…about becoming more innovative.