SAINT JOHN – Atlantic Superstore has been slowly rolling out its Click & Collect online shopping program in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. On February 28, it will finally reach the Saint John region, from Sussex to St. Stephen.
The service allows customers to buy their groceries online and schedule a time to pick them up at a store. Mark Boudreau, Director of Corporate Affairs at parent company Loblaw Atlantic, said the region is “definitely” ready for such a service.
“We weren’t sure because Atlantic Canada is known for its older population and a little more adverse to change generally, but we’re finding surprisingly the uptake has been a lot more than we anticipated, which is why we’re accelerating the rollout of the program,” he said in a recent interview with Huddle.
Superstore is the first retailer in the region to offer the online feature for all grocery items, including produce, he said. The stores offering Click & Collect also has temperature controlled facilities to keep the groceries fresh.
The service appeals not only to busy parents – the initial target demographic – but also people who work with seniors, Boudreau added.
The company began rolling out the service at its Nova Scotia stores, as well as those in Greater Moncton, Fredericton and Oromocto in December last year.
“The plan was to pick a few clusters of stores and make sure we got it right. We’ve got more than 60 stores in the region. It’s a huge undertaking so we wanted to do them incrementally,” he said.
To buy groceries online, customers can create a profile and a shopping list, with notes to specify their preferences. For a $3 fee, a personal shopper will pick the items and deliver them to customers’ cars at the scheduled pick-up time. The customers’ credit card information is kept online, but payment by debit cards, cash or gift cards are accepted upon pick-up.
Boudreau said in larger markets, the company has partnered with Instacart to have groceries delivered to customers’ homes. But in smaller regions, he says surveys show that customers still prefer picking them up.
“What we’ve found is with groceries, people don’t wanna sit at home and wait for them to arrive. And it’s not like people can leave them at the door or put them inside the door,” he said.
Loblaw aims to have the service in all of its Atlantic Canadian Superstores, including in Newfoundland, by the end of this year.