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VOL. 131 | NO. 18 | Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Kroger to Roll Out Online Ordering In Memphis

By Andy Meek

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Kroger plans to bring its online ordering system to the Memphis area soon, expanding a program it’s already rolled out elsewhere in Tennessee that includes employees bringing orders outside to the waiting customer.

Kroger shoppers in Memphis will soon have the ability to order online and have their purchases delivered to them curbside. The grocer says it’s debuting the online shopping option “soon” in the Memphis area - likely to a limited number of stores.

(Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)

The grocery chain’s ClickList ordering system (kroger.com/ClickList) lets customers shop online for more than 40,000 items, including meat and produce. The order confirmation process includes the customer specifying a date and time they’d like to pick up their purchase.

According to the ClickList site, customers also will be able to save “favorite” items to make the process of ordering repeat items even faster.

The final step in the process is showing up at the reserved time, at which point the order is paid for and an employee meets the customer curbside with the order.

Kroger Delta Division spokeswoman Teresa Dickerson confirmed online ordering would be available locally “soon” but didn’t have much more than that to share yet by way of details. Those details include possible service charges as well as locations where the online ordering would first be available.

If other markets are an indication, Kroger likely won’t make the new system broadly available in Memphis, at least at first. In Murfreesboro and Nashville, markets where Kroger has expanded its online order offering in recent days, the system is limited to only a few stores.

Five stores in the Nashville area have the online ordering capability, according to news accounts, with more planned in the near future. A variety of news accounts from other markets suggest Kroger charges a $4.95 service charge for the offering.

The grocery chain’s expansion of its online capabilities, meanwhile, is also reflective of a larger trend reshaping the retail industry landscape. It’s described alternatively as multichannel or omnichannel retailing and refers to the use by customers of multiple channels – things like in-store, online, mobile devices – as part of their shopping experience.

For some retailers, it can be used as a kind of counterweight to the Amazon experience. Whereas Amazon makes one of the widest possible product assortments available at the click of a button, most customers still likely go two or more days before receiving their order.

Brick-and mortar-retailers like Kroger, via its online system, are trying to marry the same-day availability made possible by their physical stores with the convenience of ordering something from anywhere via a computer or smartphone.

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