More commissary shoppers soon will be able to order their groceries online and pick them up curbside thanks to an expansion of the Click2Go program, officials said, though new locations for the service haven't been revealed.
Commissary officials expect to announce a timeline for the expansion shortly, according to Ronald Kelly, a spokesman for the Defense Commissary Agency. Click2Go was launched as a pilot program at three commissaries in the last half of 2013 — Fort Lee, Virginia; Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska; and Travis Air Force Base, California.
Under the Click2Go program, customers of those commissaries choose their items online, choose a the time they want to pick up their items, then go to a designated curbside location to pay for and pick up the grocery order.
Along with expansion plans, commissary officials are considering a fee for the curbside pickup service that would be in line with civilian grocery retailers, Kelly said; the fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act gave commissary officials that authority.
Fees for such services offered by private-sector stores generally are low (less than $3 in the case of one Washington, D.C.-area chain) or nonexistent: According to the Walmart Grocery website, that retailer doesn’t charge a fee for the curbside pickup, or add any markups on items.
The "click and collect" concept is "rapidly moving from the experimental stage in the U.S. to an integral aspect" of many traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, according to a March report by the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Boston Consulting Group. They noted that Walmart, Target, Kroger and Whole Foods are quickly building out these services.
The curbside pickup is available at more than 400 Walmart stores in 60 markets, the report stated.
In the three commissaries that have been testing the Click2Go, an average of 2 percent of overall sales comes from curbside service, according to DeCA's Kelly — a figure he said is in line with civilian grocery retailers.
Click2Go customers have an average basket of items worth about $105, which is more than 60 percent higher than the average shopping basket of customers who shop inside the stores, Kelly said. The service is mostly used for "pantry loading" orders, with a wide spectrum of items that include perishable items, Kelly stated.
Other statistics of the curbside customers using the Click2Go pilot programs:
- 65 percent have two to four family members.
- 60 percent are active-duty military, 29 percent are retirees and 9 percent are National Guardsmen or reservists.
- 53 percent are between E-4 and E-9.
- 68 percent are between the ages of 25 to 44
Senior reporter Karen Jowers writes about military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.