Monday, April 13, 2020

Our First Attempt at The Kroger Pickup Service - We Like What We Found.

This past weekend my wife and I used Kroger's Grocery Pickup service for the first time. 

To begin my wife had talked to several others who had used this service and so we decided we had to find out for ourselves just how it worked. 

This is where it does benefit you to be a Kroger Loyalty Card member. When we went to the Kroger website and signed in, we found a record of what we have purchased in the past. I cannot remember when we first joined the Kroger Loyalty Card program, however, we probably joined soon after it started (in the year 2000) - I like to do things like that. 

Once you access the app on your phone, or go online with a computer (which is what we did), the first thing you to do is to pick the Kroger location you are going to pick up the groceries from. There are many Kroger stores in our area, and we frequent 3 of them on a regular basis. The one closest is the oldest and we use it more like a convenience store, quick in and out. We have another one within 4+ miles where we used to go for our big order’s, but then Kroger opened a bigger (newer) store about 6 miles away and we started going there. 

I mention the above because when we were selecting the store for our grocery pickup it turned out not to be anyone of the ones we would normally use. We had already been forewarned that it was not always quick, same day, next day, kind of thing.  We found a list of all Kroger Stores on the website with suggested pick up times. The shortest in the list was 4 days away, on Sunday, and it was a completely different location than we were used to, but still within 5 miles. Since we started this on Wednesday night, we had plenty of time and selected the shorted time location. We do not normally shop until Saturday or Sunday anyway

Once we brought up the website on the computer, we started going through all the items. Adding things to the cart was easy. First, we went through all the items we would normally purchase, then we started looking for items not on our normal list. We also ordered some wine in the process. 

Once we placed the order we did not go back to add to, or alter, the order in any way. I understand you can do that for a certain amount of time.  

In talking to friends, we were also warned of great lines at the pickup spaces at Kroger. Our pickup time was set for between 1:00 PM and 2:00 PM on Sunday. Preparing for long lines we arrived at 12:25 PM to find there were no cars in the allotted spaces - so we pulled in.

The sign said to call a number and someone would take care of us. We called the number, explained we were early, gave them our order number, and they said not a problem. We were asked if we had coupons and then sent someone out to the car to pick up the coupon (only one) and shortly our groceries were brought to the car. 

The people who brought out the groceries put them into the back of the car, explained that one item, which was out of stock, could be substituted with another, they had a suggestion which we accepted. One item was not available and there was not a replacement. 

We were back on the road by 12:50 PM and headed home. 

Once home we brought in the groceries and the wine and verified everything and said "This is cool. We will do this again". 

I will say it was a very pleasant experience. We did discover we did not order a few things because when walking down the aisles we were used to having a visual experience to remind us of something we needed. In the case of ordering online you do not have that same visual walk-through experience. Next time we will plan better, but for a first-time trial - this was really great.  

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Today's Life At a Distance - Both Social and Business

A while back I wrote on "A thought about the current conditions affecting our society." and today I find Google is thinking the same thing. Think with Google (a newsletter you can subscribe to) has an article, "Will social distancing accelerate a trend toward home as headquarters?" within which they bring up some interesting changing statistics. Very good read along the lines of will this pandemic accelerate our changing ways in working and shopping? We have time to think and this read can help one be creative for the future.

If you are in business today you should be interested in these cultural and social changes that are occurring. I know there has always been change, however, over time it has been gradual. Today the times we are going through can, and will, accelerate change. The longer we are working from home the more the use of technology will expand because people will figure out better ways to connect using new tools.

Look at the popularity of the product Zoom. Because of the sudden growth in usage Zoom is accelerating it's security. No one anticipated people putting links on Facebook to have meetings all over the country/world, families and businesses.

Technology of communication has been accepted quickly and has led to the sudden growth everywhere. People (customers, clients, employees, families, and friends) are using Skype for personal calls (do not need a Microsoft account), even Go To Meeting can be used on ALL devices. Not to mention text messaging, email, all leading to mobile phone data usage going out of sight. Issues with apps which can only be available on some, or certain, devices are not ready for main stream. We need tools that can be used on ALL devices. We are all different.

The individual is better connected now than ever before - and so is the office.

From the business perspective there are many things to consider.

  • What if people, who now have to work from home - mandated by this pandemic, figure out they can make it work very well? Where they were hesitant initially they have now grown to like it. They have made it work because they had to, and work it will.
  • What if both small, and big business, discover their reluctance to advance in this direction was a mistake? They now find, with a great number of people working from home, there are advantages. Advantages could be; 
    • reduced overhead of office space - particularly where space is rented
    • there is also a reduction of related expenses like,
      • phone lines, 
      • wireless and internet setups in every office. 
    • IT can still connect to the individuals computer. 
  • We all can meet online reducing travel expenses and it is liked by many.
  • People can work from anywhere, what a concept.
I am sure the list can get longer, I am also sure there should be increases in pay to compensate for use of home space, however, is it possible that maintenance of home systems is now to the provider of the service? 

What else could we benefit from this "Life At a Distance" and "Work At a Distance"?

I am sure there are those that want to get back to the office as soon as possible because it was a refuge, a hide-out, however, that number, overtime, could be a great deal smaller. 

I am also sure that there will be cries of "INSECURE" but we need to make it "SECURE". Don't blame it on others - get your own act in place. 

There are many other considerations, but under the current conditions, everyone is getting an education in Life at a distance, and perhaps, there are more advantages we have not yet discovered.