Ron’s Supermarket wants to change the way you shop for groceries by combining local and online shopping. Online shopping has become the norm for many retail transactions (last year’s online retailers broke records with Cyber Monday sales exceeding $3 billion), and this local grocery store is ready to get in on the action.
Ron’s newest feature, Click & Shop, allows customers to order groceries online and then pick them up at the supermarket. 30,000 items (or 99% of the merchandise available at the store) are available online to purchase. Customers simply set up an account, place their order, and schedule a time to pick up their groceries, which will be bagged and ready to go when they arrive. Store manager Drew Rhodes also envisions the store being able to deliver groceries later this year.
“This is our number one focus for 2016,” Rhodes said. “We want to make sure it is running effectively and smoothly for the customers.”
As a frequent online shopper I was excited by the idea and decided to give Click & Shop a try myself. Here is what I found:
The site is very user-friendly. Creating an account is as simple as filling in your name, address, and email. I also found it fairly simple to locate the items I wanted to buy. Users can browse by categories like produce and bakery, or use the search feature to look up a specific item. With a single click, desired items are added to your cart.
The favorites list makes repeat purchases a snap. By clicking the heart icon, items are added to your favorites list, allowing for quick shopping for your usual items. Under the “My Shopping Lists” you can also locate previous purchases and orders.
Nutrition labels and ingredient information are only a click away. As a label reader, this feature is important to me. Clicking on the image of the item will display the list of ingredients and the nutritional label of each item, so shoppers can make informed decisions.
The weekly ad is displayed for bargain shoppers. Under the “Specials” tab, you can view Ron’s weekly specials. Also, when you stumble upon an item while browsing or searching, you are informed when that item is on sale.
Shopping at the computer incorporates all the bonuses of having the Internet at your fingertips. While browsing the produce I stumbled upon plantains, something I’ve never made, but wanted to try. I quickly opened up another tab and searched for plantain recipes and added the needed ingredients to my list. Now when I stumble upon a new recipe on Pinterest, I can immediately add the ingredients to my shopping cart and complete the order when I’m done. This may be my favorite thing about Click & Shop.
You can do your shopping in your pajamas. I did.
Pick up is very quick. I usually dread going to the grocery store after work because I am worn out and the store is crowded. Yet, after work is the most convenient time to go, so I do. Having already ordered my groceries the night before, I was able to bypass the lines and pick up and pay for my order in PittCafe. From the time I parked my car to the time I was loading my grocery bags into the back seat took about five minutes. What a convenience!
There is no need to enter credit card information online because you pay for your purchase at the store. This also allows you to bring coupons to the store. Since you’re already online, you can also search for coupons for items in your cart to bring to the store with you later.
The convenience of ordering online isn’t free. It’s $4.95 per order. The convenience was worth it, in my opinion, but I suggest making few large orders rather than frequent small orders to save money.
You can grab additional items when you pick up your order. If you forget to order an item or decide to make some last minute purchases, you can grab what you need at the store and include them in your purchase. (I grabbed some sushi, personally.)
Allowing substitutions ensures you get what you need. When checking out online, there is the option to “allow substitutions.” This allows Ron’s to find a comparable replacement in the event that an item you’ve ordered is not available. I made the mistake of not selecting this feature. When I picked up my order, I found out the Organic Girl baby kale I had ordered was out of stock. If I had selected “allow substitutions,” an alternative item would have been waiting for me along with the rest of the order.
Aside from ordering kale that was out of stock, my Click & Shop experience was excellent. What I love best about Ron’s new feature is that it provides all the convenience of shopping online while allowing me to still shop local. It’s truly the best of both worlds.