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Click, vroom, munch: Online grocery shopping arrives in Boise

Behind the scenes: Albertsons delivery

The new Albertsons home grocery delivery is available now in the Treasure Valley. Here is how it works.
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The new Albertsons home grocery delivery is available now in the Treasure Valley. Here is how it works.

Hate spending two hours of your Saturday afternoon wandering the aisles of a grocery store in search of birthday candles, almond milk or charcoal briquettes?

Wish you didn’t have to deal with checkout stalls and your uncanny ability to always choose the slowest line?

Have five children who see a trip to the store as an opportunity to beg for sugary treats?

If so, you are the target market for services being rolled out in the Treasure Valley by the nation’s three largest grocery chains. Albertsons, Fred Meyer and Wal-Mart now take website and mobile app orders from Boise-area shoppers. The prices vary from free for curbside pickup to $12.95 per home delivery.

The chains are offering the services at only a handful of stores, staffed with employees who have been trained in choosing the ripest avocado, freshest apple or best cut of meat.

The grocers launched their services in rapid succession over the past month. They each told the Statesman the reason for offering pickup or delivery was that customers said they wanted it.

Years ago, Albertsons offered home delivery. Under former owner Supervalu, it discontinued the service in 2009, saying more than half of customers preferred in-store pickup.

Offering delivery and pickup options is “a smart strategic initiative, especially the way Albertsons is doing it in Boise,” said Burt Flickinger, a retail analyst and managing director of Strategic Resource Group in New York.

When customers get groceries delivered to their homes, they often spend as much as 200 percent more than with curbside or regular shopping, Flickinger said.

At this point, Albertsons is the only local option for delivery.

“We’re finding in our research with Coburn’s and FreshDirect and Peapod and ShopRite and Amazon Fresh [elsewhere in the U.S.] that people will pay for delivery, because people tend to view their time worth at least equal to minimum wage in that given market,” he said.

Consumers want to spend less time cooking, but they don’t want to pay restaurant prices, so they are willing to pony up some cash to have a week’s worth of groceries brought to their door along with a whole roasted chicken, salads, sandwiches or desserts.

The companies each have their own rules, and they are running promotions as they closely watch how the Boise area responds to convenience shopping.

ALBERTSONS GOES TO YOUR DOORSTEP

Boise-based Albertsons unveiled its home-delivery service July 20.

“We wanted to be the first in the Boise area to do grocery delivery,” said Kathy Holland, communications and community relations manager for Albertsons’ Intermountain Division.

Boise is a test run for the entire region, Holland said: “If it does well, if customers are really liking it ... we’re going to try it out in our Montana market as well.”

The chain is loading up trucks and driving orders to customers’ homes at a cost of $9.95 or $12.95, depending on the total price of the shopping cart. It requires a $49 minimum order.

As an incentive to get customers to try its service, Albertsons is offering one free home delivery and $15 off the first order.

Promo code for one free Albertsons delivery, with $15 discount: TRYIT (The website Tuesday also listed free delivery code EASY7, without the $15 discount.)

The service is based at two Albertsons stores: at Eagle and McMillan roads, which delivers all the way to Nampa and Caldwell, and on Overland Road and Orchard Street, which covers the Boise area.

The company hired more than 20 employees to staff the service at the two stores. Each store has four delivery trucks that employees load up each day to ferry groceries to each customer’s door.

We expect this to be permanent. We’re very excited about it and think our customers will be, too.

Kathy Holland, communications and community relations manager for Albertsons’ Intermountain Division

FRED MEYER TAKES TO THE PARKING LOT

Fred Meyer, which is part of Cincinnati-based Kroger, is taking orders online or from the Fred Meyer app for next-day curbside pickup. It is working toward adding same-day pickup.

The chain’s new ClickList service launched July 13 at its Southeast Boise store, 3527 S. Federal Way.

It saves a lot of time, and families — especially families with children — love it.

Zach Stratton, community affairs specialist, Fred Meyer and QFC

The Boise store was the first Fred Meyer in Idaho to offer ClickList. The company invested $230,000 into equipping that store to take online orders, and it hired 10 employees to run the service.

Flickinger said Kroger has “done curbside very well” in other parts of the country. He wonders how it will go at the Fred Meyer-branded stores, which sell clothing, home goods, electronics and furniture along with groceries. Fred Meyer’s service now includes just traditional groceries.

Fred Meyer plans to roll out the service at its Meridian store on Fairview Avenue and Locust Grove Road in October. It also plans to offer ClickList in Coeur d’Alene in September and Pocatello in October.

Fred Meyer charges $4.95 per order. There is no minimum order.

Fred Meyer is waiving the fee on each customer’s first three ClickList orders.

WAL-MART DOES DRIVE-IN DELIVERY

Arkansas-based Wal-Mart says customers are taking to its free service that allows shoppers to place an online order for a minimum of $35, then pick it up without leaving their vehicles.

The chain’s service allows for same-day curbside pickup, but customers also can place orders up to three weeks in advance.

It launched in the Treasure Valley in the spring and has expanded to four stores:

▪  4051 E. Fairview Ave., Meridian

▪  5875 E. Franklin Road, Nampa

▪  5001 N. Ten Mile Road, Meridian

▪  2100 12th Avenue Road, Nampa

[Customers] call this a life-changing service for them because it’s really reduced the time they spend on grocery shopping.

Delia Garcia, regional spokeswoman for Walmart

Wal-Mart regional spokeswoman Delia Garcia declined to say how many customers have used the service in the past few months. She said 90 percent of the grocery pickup shoppers are repeat customers and “utilization is growing.”

Wal-Mart did not hire new employees to staff the new service. Instead, it trained existing workers who are now designated only for the grocery pickup service, Garcia said.

Flickinger said staffing may be a challenge for the retail giant as it rolls out curbside pickup in the Treasure Valley.

“For Wal-Mart, the concern is consistency and customer satisfaction,” he said.

Walmart promo code for $10 off a $50 order: REALEASY

Audrey Dutton: 208-377-6448, @IDS_Audrey

How to order

Albertsons: shop.albertsons.com

Fred Meyer: fredmeyer.com/ onlineshopping

Walmart: grocery.walmart.com

You also can place orders from the grocers’ apps, which are available for Android or iPhone. The apps include features such as bar code scanning, searching by aisle or adding items you have purchased before.

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