Viewpoints

The day I turned my car into a cart

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I was shopping in my local Stop & Shop when I passed an endcap display for laundry detergent. While the detergent specials were enticing, what really caught my attention was a shelf sign (see related photo gallery) jetting out from the display. The sign had a picture of a car and read, “Turn Your Car into a Cart.”

The sign promoted the store’s newly introduced pick-up service fulfilled by Peapod. Unlike Peapod home delivery, there is no charge for the pick-up service, regardless of the size of the order. Tipping is discouraged.

The service reportedly is being used to help introduce shoppers to Peapod home delivery. Pick-up customers choose their selections on the Peapod site, select a store from where they will pick up their order, pick a one-hour window pick-up time, and pay for their order in advance.

When a pick-up customer arrives at the store, a Stop & Shop Pick-up attendant greets her, and loads the groceries into the car. Ahold has expanded the service to dozens of its Stop & Shop and Giant stores.

The service is heavily promoted at store level. Along with the sign on the laundry detergent endcap, ads were placed in several other aisles of my store. I was reminded again as I left the store, thanks to a large curb sign positioned near a storage area reading “Stop & Shop Pick Up.”

While much has been written about Peapod’s home delivery, the advertising sparked my curiosity about the service. So I decided to give it a try.

When I got home, I clicked on the “Pick Up” link on the Stop & Shop website. From there, I was directed to the Peapod site. Once I registered on the site, I could peruse Peapod’s grocery assortment. I could access many of the store’s weekly specials by clicking on a “Specials” tab. Manufacturer coupons are also accepted. They can be given to the pick-up attendant and will be credited to the users’ account.

I placed my order around noon and chose a pickup window of noon to 1 p.m. the following day. About an hour before my pickup time, I received a text reminding me my groceries would be ready soon.

My store devotes several parking spaces for Pick Up clients. The spaces are identified with signs reading “Pick Up Shoppers Park Here.” (Several spaces were occupied by people who clearly weren’t using the service.) The sign includes a phone number for Pick Up customers to call to let the store know they have arrived. I was eager to find out if I would get my groceries within five minutes, as promotional materials guarantee.

Once I pulled into a designated spot, I called the number on the sign. Someone immediately picked up and asked me for my name.


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Indeed, within five minutes, an attendant wheeled my groceries to my car. I asked the store associate if my groceries were picked from the store. He told me Peapod picked the order elsewhere and delivered them it to the store by 8 a.m. Pick Up orders are stored in a locked, holding area, with refrigerated items kept cold, and frozens packed in dry ice.

I examined my order once I got home. The produce I ordered wasn’t the quality I would have chosen if I selected it myself. And I definitely spent more than I would have if I went into the store myself and compared specials. But I would use it again to save time for fill-in trips.

A few days later, I received an email with an offer for $5 off my next two Pick Up orders of at least $60 each.

That’s enough of an incentive for me to turn my car into a cart again this week.

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David Orgel

David Orgel is executive director, content & user engagement, of Supermarket News (SN) and its website, SupermarketNews.com. Orgel delivers his opinions on industry trends through a bi-weekly...

Carol Angrisani

Carol Angrisani is an associate editor at Supermarket News. Along with covering the packaged goods beat, she also manages SN’s annual private-label and ethnic marketing supplements. Carol...
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