What is that one household routine you would love to eliminate?
For many, it’s trudging through the Houston heat to the grocery store, walking the aisles shopping, and loading up the car in the Houston heat. The story can magnify quickly if multiple children are in tow. Imagine creating your grocery list on your laptop with a cool beverage in hand, placing an online order, and picking it up the next day. That is a reality for many folks in the Houston area, thanks to Kroger’s ClickList online grocery service. Even better: your first three orders offer a free service fee.
My neighborhood Kroger is one of 10 stores currently offering ClickList in the Houston area (yay). I have placed three orders online using ClickList and am excited to share my experiences, as well as info from a private “behind-the-scenes” tour of the ClickList workspace. I was a true fan before, but even more so now!
In 2014, Kroger rolled out ClickList to its Cleveland stores, home of its corporate headquarters. Thanks to plenty of feedback, it’s been perfecting the process since then. Kroger believes so much in this new technology and service for customers that it is remodeling stores and hiring hundreds of new employees just for ClickList.
The online grocery service kicked off in the Texas market May 11, 2016, in Baytown. Since then, it operates in 10 Houston-area stores with another 12 by the end of September for the first wave. Before a store can offer the ClickList service, Kroger hires 20 new employees specifically for ClickList, builds special refrigeration and freezer areas in the back only for ClickList orders, adds devoted parking spots, signs, and a new ClickList door leading outside to the customer vehicles. I think that commitment to helping customers (and the dollars behind it) is so impressive.
“We’re meeting people where they’re at and how they want to shop,” says Jason Payne, e-commerce manager for Kroger’s Houston Division.
Rather then spend an hour at the store, Kroger’s goal is to have customers drive up, pay, and be loaded with groceries in six minutes. Up to eight cars are assigned per one-hour time frame so customers can arrive any time in that range. Customers must pay by credit card/debit card, which is swiped on an iPad right at your car window.
ClickList employees begin arriving at 4 am to start pulling orders for online customers, with one person devoted to frozen food, another to refrigerated food, and then another to the other products. All the pulled food is stored in the special ClickList refrigerator and freezer in the back. Stores try to have all the orders pulled by 1 pm to keep the ClickList carts out of the aisles during busy shopping times.
Who is the perfect match for ClickList? Probably you! Kroger considers young families, seniors, and the disabled as a great fit for this service who like the convenience of not walking all over the store. But there are so many other people who can benefit as well — busy young professionals, folks with dietary restrictions (like gluten-free) who can quickly search online if a product is available, folks working shift work, business people who travel, people who hate to shop, and more.
Summer vacations are in full swing for many families. Imagine placing an online order while on vacation, driving up to the store once you arrive back in town, and getting your week’s groceries loaded in the car. It’s one less chore that needs to be done when you come back to reality.
How Does it Work?
Head to Kroger.com and look for the ClickList label in the top navigation bar.
If you’re a Kroger customer, browse through the items in the “My Favorites” section first, since Kroger displays items you frequently purchase, tied to your loyalty card. This makes it so quick to find my specific items I might need — my Kroger brand milk, Mrs. Baird’s bread, Kraft shredded cheese, Kroger Apple Juice and more. I love this feature!
More than 40,000 items are available for purchase online with more being added. Each store carries slightly different items based on its customers. 80% of products in a Kroger Marketplace are online with 95% of products from a traditional Kroger store online. Hot foods, toys, and cosmetics, for example, are not available.
Do you consider yourself a control freak? For customers with specific requests, a message box is available for each product to add notes for the ClickList shopper. Share how thick you want your steak, how ripe your avocado or that you desire a 1½ week expiration date on milk. Prospective employees actually are screened on a phone interview before they are invited for a store interview. Kroger is looking for ClickList employees to be detail-oriented, meticulous and friendly, so it weeds some people out before the in-person interview begins.
Select your preferred store to pick up the order and then reserve your pick-up time. Available times will be the next day as early as 8 am through 9 pm seven days a week. (I placed one of my orders at 11:30 pm and discovered my pick up could be around 8 hours later at 8 am!) Customers can continue adding items or adjusting their online order until 11:59 pm.
For the three orders I placed with ClickList, I spent 20-30 minutes selecting my ClickList order online. In the last order, I loaded digital coupons for items I wanted to purchase. These discounts came off at check-out and totaled $6 savings, in addition to the sales prices online. Kroger sends an email to confirm the order and another to remind you of pick up. If you complete the email survey, 50 fuel points are loaded to your Kroger card.
My wait times were 6-7 minutes on the first two pick ups, because it was not a busy time. Last Sunday I picked up an order at 1:10 pm. I’ve learned that’s a busy time! Ultimately five people came to pick up their order while I was there. The supervisor of ClickList at my store, Helen, even came in straight from church because they needed some additional help. Kroger is very conscious of order timing and high levels of service. I waited 15 minutes for my Sunday order, but now I’ve learned that’s a popular time as folks prepare for the week. Other popular times are weekdays from 8 am – 10 am and 4 pm – 6 pm, according to Payne.
Kroger also proudly offers upgrades if an item is not available, but at no additional cost. My order had a substitution — 48 Super Max dishwashing tablets instead of the 32 basic tablet box I selected. This product cost an additional $6, but I was only charged for the original price I selected.
And the bonus in my house — my dog loves ClickList because it’s one more opportunity for her to ride in the car! That’s her goal every day! Hey Kroger, need a ClickList mascot?
- Stay on budget with your grocery shopping. Not only can you watch your order total as you shop but it also prevents those impulse buys while you walk around the store.
- Sale items in the weekly flyer are priced the same online.
- Discover items on sale as you browse. Toilet paper I purchased before was listed on sale for $8.99 online instead of $14.99. I might not have known if I only visited the store.
- Prices are not inflated for online orders.
- Digital coupons loaded on your Kroger card are automatically deducted.
- Paper coupons are accepted, too, when you pick up your order.
- Your first three orders offer free service fee. After that, it’s only $4.95 each.
Is Your Store Participating?
I’m sure the big question right now is “Will ClickList come to my Kroger?” Check out the following 10 stores with ClickList as well as other stores opening by the end of September. Kroger will expand to more Houston locations after this first wave of openings.
- Baytown – 6315 Garth
- Cypress – 9703 Barker Cypress
- Energy Corridor – 1520 Eldridge Parkway
- Galveston – 5730 Seawall Boulevard
- Kingwood – 25651 U.S. Highway 59 N.
- League City – 1920 West League City Parkway
- Rosenberg – 24401 Brazos Town Crossing
- Spring – 18518 Kuykendahl
- Tomball – 24350 Kuykendahl
- Willis – 12605 I-45 North
- Cypress – 20355 Cypresswood Drive
- Houston – 9330 Jones Rd.
- West University – 5150 Buffalo Speedway
- Houston – 14221 East Sam Houston Parkway N.
- Memorial – 1801 South Voss
- Katy – 1712 Spring Green Boulevard
- Oak Forest – 1352 West 43rd St.
- Kingwood – 3410 Northpark Drive
- League City – 2750 East League City Parkway
- Katy – 22150 Westheimer Parkway
- Richmond – 25050 F.M. 1093
- La Porte – 1300 Fairmont Parkway
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Kroger. I am thrilled to partner with them on this project because I am a genuine fan! All opinions are my own.