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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Review of ClickList at Kroger in Prospect, KY

I've been hearing friends and family rave about curbside grocery pickup for months. When the Kroger near my home recently began offering ClickList, I knew I had to give it a try.

 photo 18a4bfe7-7eec-4e68-99a0-43b6b491aa47_zpspsshytxo.jpgCurbside grocery orders are placed online. The process was easier than I expected. I already had an online account with Kroger, which I use for uploading digital coupons to my Plus card. I went to the Kroger.com as usual and selected ClickList to begin my order. I was pleasantly surprised by the ease of the online ordering process. The first screen I came to showed items I had recently purchased (as tracked by my Kroger Plus card). Each item included a photo with the description, which was helpful. The only thing to be careful of is size, since a 10 oz package looks the same a 30 oz package in a photo. I quickly scrolled through the list and clicked to add some often used grocery staples to my cart.

The next section showed my sale items. These are items that I've previously purchased that are currently on sale. I added extras of some of these items to my cart, if the deal was especially good, just as I would have if I had been walking through the store. I appreciated not missing out on these types of deals! If you're not careful, there are a few deals you might miss out on. For example, Kroger was running a 'mix and match 10 items' deal. If you buy 10 items with a special tag, you get each of those items at a reduced price. There are no special tags when ordering on ClickList. However, if you click the tab for Savings and then select Weekly Ad, you can learn about these sales and still take advantage of them. Also, it is important to note the prices you pay are the ones the item is being sold for on the day of pickup-- not the day of order. I would avoid ordering on a change over date if you're trying to take advantage of special sales.

For the rest of my grocery list, I used the search bar to find the item I needed. The search feature worked pretty well. For example, I typed in "baby spinach" and it brought up the leafy greens I was looking for in the various brands offered. However, it also showed me jars of spinach baby food. I didn't find that to be a problem, but one could avoid seeing the extra items, by narrowing down the search to "produce" by checking a box on the side. The first time I ordered on ClickList, I found all of the items I needed without any problems. The second time I ordered, I noticed a few items missing. One type of salad I like wasn't an available option, nor was the brand of frozen vegetable egg rolls I prefer. I also learned that, while "cosmetics" is a featured category, makeup items really aren't available through ClickList at this time. If I needed mascara, I'd have to go in the store or order it from Amazon. Overall, the product availability was quite extensive, so I don't find that to be a major deterrent.

For all items, the price (with Plus card) was clearly displayed. I appreciated the fact that I could see a running total as I added items to my cart. I could see that being very helpful for staying on budget. It was easy to scroll back through and remove products I changed my mind about. On the review screen at the end, I noticed the words "allow substitution" under each item with a check box beside it. The boxes were automatically checked, but I could uncheck them if desired. I decided to leave them all checked to see if any substitutions would be made. I had previously read that Kroger ClickList associates had been trained to make appropriate substitutions, so I was curious to see what would happen.

 photo FullSizeRender 25_zpsdyizjwbk.jpgAt the end of the online ordering process, I was able to select a pick up date and time. It's important to note that you cannot order and pick up groceries within the same day. Your pick up date will likely be the next day, but it could possibly be later. The first time, I ordered early on a Sunday and was able to pick up my groceries the next morning. The second time I ordered, I got a late start on Sunday evening. When I started my order, the available pick up time was 2 - 3 pm on Monday, but by the time I was finished and ready to select a time, it was up to 7 - 8 pm. Lesson learned. My advice is to get an early start on filling your cart. After a pick up time is selected, you can edit your cart up until midnight. 

 photo FullSizeRender 24_zps2fnkly1f.jpgThe online instructions say to go to the store at your pick up time and follow the signs to the ClickList area. I did not notice any signs outside of the Prospect Kroger when I arrived for pick up. After driving around the lot for a while, I realized that pick up was behind the store. There were several spaces clearly marked for ClickList. The sign in front of each space has a phone number on it to call when you arrive. Don't forget to bring your cell phone! Upon calling, the associate came out within 2 - 3 minutes.

When the ClickList associate came out, he was very friendly. I did not have to get out of the car for anything. The first thing he did was go over list of substitutions that were made on my order. There were multiple items that were required substitution, but I was pleased with all of their choices. The best part of substitutions is, you receive the lowest price. For example, the brand of bacon I ordered was on sale for $1.99 per package. It was unavailable, so they substituted a similar bacon that retailed for 3 times that price and I only paid $1.99. That was quite a nice surprise! Had I not been pleased with the substitutions, I could've rejected them. I noticed that the substituted items had been bagged in regular Kroger bags rather than the white, ClickList bags so that the associate could easily find them and remove them from my order if needed.

Paying for my groceries was easy. I used my credit card and signed the associate's tablet while still in my car. All of my online coupons were automatically applied. I did not try to use paper coupons, but I've heard that they can be used, though they slow down the check out process. While the associate was at my car, I inquired about the storage of ClickList orders after they were picked. He explained to me that they have large refrigeration and freezer rooms where they store the cold items until pick up. So for those who live far from the store, ClickList may be a better option than going inside the store, since your cold groceries remain refrigerated or frozen until they are taken out to you car.

Upon arrival at home, I found that all of my groceries were as expected with no missing items. When ordering the produce, you are able to make a note about what you like (for example, "green bananas") so that helped to insure that those items would be to my liking. The only trick is some of those items are by weight and some by quantity, which I didn't notice, so I only ended up with 2 bananas.

Overall, my impression of ClickList was extremely positive. I really liked the online process, and could see value in looking up items online to price check first even if I planned to go into the store to make my purchase. The fee for using ClickList in the Louisville area is $4.95 per order, however the fee is waived the first 3 times. I think it's a fair price, considering it saved me at least an hour of time and I saved money on substitutions I would've had to pay for if I substituted on my own. At first, I thought this service was only for the elderly, disabled or parents with young children. However, I can see it as beneficial for anyone. In addition to saving time, I didn't make impulse buys and made a more thorough list than usual. I wouldn't use it for a quick trip to get just a few items, but I'll definitely use ClickList again for my major weekly shopping trip!

By Guest Contributor: Brandy




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