This is an article about three commodities: time, sleep and Loblaws®. What links the three you may wonder? As a small business owner and mother of 2 children under 2, I am short of the first two precious commodities; time and sleep. This week I spent $3 in a way that has fundamentally changed my week and made me smile. This is a concept I consider worth sharing. It is also an interesting business lesson.
I don’t enjoy shopping. I mean it, I really don’t, especially grocery shopping. In England it has long been possible to order your groceries online and have them delivered to your home, not so in Alberta. There are the boutique offerings but I have not been impressed with the selection, or attracted by the price point. We also live rurally, so home delivery is not something we can really expect at a reasonable price. So when Superstore® launched “Click and Collect®” I was intrigued. This service has been available in Ontario for some time but only recently came to Alberta. For the sum of $3 you can order your groceries for pick up at the store. I tried this for the first time last week and was thoroughly impressed. What did I get for my $3?
- A Loblaws® employee hand selected my groceries, which I had pre-ordered online the previous day.
- I parked in a dedicated stall right next to the store.
- After phoning to announce my arrival (within a pre-selected 2 hour time window), they brought the groceries to my car and helped me load the car!
- They charged my credit card and gave me the receipt at the car.
Yes, you read that correctly, they load your car at Superstore®! For me, this means that I do not have to take my children out of the car, arrange them in the shopping cart and spend an hour and a half trying to entertain my 20 month old son whilst grocery shopping. This is quite frankly, brilliant. I love it, and it is the best $3 I have spent all week. Not only did it save me the time and energy, it also made my day. The lady who helped me load the car was so nice and friendly that I left with a smile. I can honestly say that in 10 years of grocery shopping in Canada, I have never once left with a smile before. After navigating the store and the line at the till I am never smiling, in fact I am usually in need of a strong coffee and a massage.
From a business perspective I am intrigued. I honestly don’t know how they can offer this service for $3. It must be a loss leader, showing us just how competitive grocery retail is. However, it does buy loyalty and if other grocery stores are not offering this service it may also buy new customers. Either that, or the data they collect on our shopping habits is so valuable it negates the cost of the program. Personally, I am fine with Loblaws® knowing I buy the essentials weekly. We do shop at our local farmers’ markets for fresh produce but there are still many items we need from the supermarket. In fact, I am so delighted about the 90 minutes per week I have regained, I am still smiling. I can instead be working or sleeping, and a trade of $3 for 90 minutes for either of these is well worth it.
As a business owner and mother I highly recommend Click and Collect®. As a shareholder in George Weston I am delighted. To me this helps to build and protect the business from competitors.
Disclosure: The opinions above reflect my personal opinion, neither Loblaws®, Superstore® not Click and Collect® are clients of De Paoli & Associates. The author is long WN.TO shares, this is not a recommendation to buy or sell securities in any company.