The grocery list on your refrigerator door may become a thing of the past for some shoppers in Charlottetown.
On Wednesday, the Atlantic Superstore in West Royalty became Loblaw’s first store on the Island to offer an online grocery ordering and pick-up service.
“This is the wave of the future, right? Some people like the option,” said Mark Boudreau, director of corporate affairs for Loblaw Atlantic.
“I will say that one of the important things is this isn’t really meant to replace going in to get your groceries. A lot of people actually like going into the stores. Maybe they want to talk to our dietician or they want to use our community room or they like the sampling. This is sort of another option for them,” he said.
On the first day, the store already had online orders to fill and customers coming to pick them up.
People register for the online service for free at www.atlanticsuperstore.ca. Once there, they select a time slot to pick up their order and then start selecting items for their virtual grocery cart. They can search for items or browse an aisle. Nutrition facts on items are displayed for the customer.
When it is time to pick up the order, drivers pull up to two designated areas marked with orange signs by the store’s entrance. An employee brings out the order, and then the customer pays with visa, debit, cash or another method. Customers are charged a $3 or $5 pick up fee on each order for the service depending on the day and time slot, according to the website.
Boudreau notes that people can be personal about some of their groceries, such as a preference for green bananas or steak with marbling. Boudreau said those preference can be included in an order to help the personal shoppers who select the items get the order right.
“Each order can be very intricate,” he said.
The online service requires between five to eight staff at each store. About half of that staff will be filled from existing employees, he said.
“It’s like the best job ever,” he said.
If a customer isn’t satisfied with an item, Boudreau said they can return it. As well, if they are unable to pick up their order at a specified time, they can either cancel the order or the store will hold on to it for a few days. Prior to delivery, the orders are kept in a holding area that has refrigeration compartments to keep some of the items fresh.
On April 18, the online service is launching in Montague and Summerside. Charlottetown’s 465 University Ave. location is scheduled to begin the service on May 9.
By the end of May, Boudreau said all of the Superstores in Atlantic Canada will be ready to offer the online service.