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As national grocery chains pivot to home delivery and curbside pick up to keep shoppers and workers safe from the coronavirus outbreak, a Trader Joe’s executive has revealed why this has not been a part of their plans, and likely won’t be.
The iconoclastic grocery chain enjoys nearly a cult-like following for their affordable and high-quality private label products, Trader Joe’s is well-known for a uniquely different way they do business from other national supermarket chains. So it should perhaps come as no surprise that while their competitors are zigging during this pandemic, they chose to zag.
The issue came up on a recent episode of their own podcast Inside Trader Joe’s, Vice President of Marketing Matt Sloan explained that, despite getting shopper feedback on instituting these policies, the reason why they haven’t moved in that direction despite calls to do so is this: they’d rather invest the necessary resources into their staff.
“Creating an online shopping system for curbside pickup or the infrastructure for delivery, it’s a massive undertaking. It’s something that takes months or years to plan, build, and implement and it requires tremendous resources,” Sloan explained. “At Trader Joe’s, the reality is that over the last couple of decades we’ve invested those resources in our people rather than build an infrastructure that eliminates the need for people.”
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“The bottom line here is that our people remain our most valued resource,” Miller added. “While other retailers were cutting staff and adding things like self-checkout, curbside pickup, and outsourcing delivery options, we were hiring more crew, and we continue to do that.”
Whole Foods, Albertson’s, Walmart and Target have all embraced online orders which feature home delivery and curbside pickup options, Trader Joe’s appears to be sticking it’s current shopping policies.
Trader Joe’s recently updated their statement on COVID-19 policies that featured a section on staff member health check-ins:
Crew Member Wellness Checks: All of our stores are conducting Crew Member Wellness Checks with all Crew Members prior to the start of each shift. The Wellness Checks screen for potential exposure to COVID-19 and for symptoms consistent with a COVID-19 infection. Wellness Checks are an extra precaution we are taking to reduce the possibility of any Crew Members inadvertently exposing their fellow crew or our customers to illness.
Trader Joe’s has been on the front foot in addressing the unique challenges that have come to grocery stores amid the coronavirus outbreak and while they may not have plans for curbside delivery, the do seem committed to making the shopping experience as safe for staff and shoppers alike.
RELATED VIDEO: What a Trader Joe’s Employee Wishes Grocery Shoppers Would Do During Pandemic (via Eating Well)
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