Is Kroger’s pick-up only store a solution for grocers now and in the future?
A Kroger store in Cincinnati has converted to pickup-only due to the surge it has seen in online orders. A byproduct of the change may be that the store is now better suited to address many of the shopping challenges associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
“The pickup-only model is ideal for all customers, especially for senior and higher-risk shoppers,” Kroger said in a statement. “Because of the ongoing increase in grocery products and services at this time, it’s also important for our customers to know they may experience limited inventory options and longer wait times than usual.”
The store’s pharmacy remains open, with healthcare staff available for consultations. Nearby Kroger locations will continue to offer in-store shopping.
Delivery and pickup orders have jumped for grocers in recent weeks following calls for social distancing by medical professionals and government authorities.
A survey of more than 1,600 shoppers from e-commerce platform ShopperKit taken from March 23rd to 25th found 31 percent used grocery pickup and/or delivery over the last 30 days compared to 13 percent in August 2019. Forty percent of people over 60 ordered groceries online for the first time.
Due to heightened demands, however, delivery wait times for some grocers are running more than a week.
A pickup-only store may also help limit hoarding and be a better safety option than in-store shopping. Grocers continuing with regular operations are currently limiting the number of shoppers, installing plastic shields at checkout counters and regularly cleaning stores as steps to make in-store shopping safer.
A March 27 USA Today story asked whether grocery stores and pharmacies had become “super-spreading virus vectors” with touching shopping carts, freezer door handles, cardboard boxes and plastic packaging nearly unavoidable. A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine found the virus was detectable up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic and stainless steel.
On Friday, Trader Joe’s temporarily closed eight stores for cleaning because workers had contracted the virus.
“The biggest concern about a grocery store is everyone wants to be there,” Virginia Tech epidemiologist Charlotte Baker told USA Today. “That means you’re closer in proximity than we’re recommending people be.”
- Kroger opens first pickup-only store, and it’s in Greater Cincinnati – Cincinnati Business Courier
- Kroger pilots pickup-only store in Cincinnati area – Supermarket News
- Long wait times for grocery pickup frustrating Saskatchewan residents amid COVID-19 – Global News
- Survey: Online grocery orders surge – Store Brands
- Trader Joe’s Stores That Are Temporarily Closed For Cleaning Related To COVID-19 – Trader Joe’s
- Trader Joe’s Is Closing Some Of Their Stores To Address Coronavirus Concerns – Delish
- How long does the coronavirus live on surfaces? – USA Today
- Are grocery stores and pharmacies vectors for the coronavirus? – USA Today
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Are grocery stores “super-spreading virus vectors” or are the safety steps being taken sufficient to create safe-enough environments for customers and staff? What do you think of the utility of pickup-only grocery stores at the present time and after the coronavirus pandemic has finally ended?