The Army and Air Force Exchange Service is testing curbside order pick-ups at six of its stores as managers seek to find ways to keep shoppers buying while also reducing foot traffic.
The system last year expanded its in-store online order pick-up program to 135 locations. But users had to enter the store to get their items from a designated counter. The new program instead will allow purchases to be delivered to the shoppers' vehicles.
The service will be available starting April 3 at Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Kaiserslautern Military Community, Germany; Camp Humphreys, South Korea; McChord Air Force Base, Washington; and Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas. Fort Benning, Georgia has already rolled it out.
Shoppers will receive a phone call when their order is ready. Then, much like curbside pick-up at off-base retailers, shoppers will park in a designated numbered space, call the phone number on the sign and then wait for delivery to their car.
The AAFES announcement said the plan is to roll the program out worldwide when the test is complete. It did not say how long the test will last.
Meanwhile, the Navy Exchange said it is instead focusing its energy on overseas locations, where it has started a new delivery program to serve sailors who are under quarantine.
The commissary system offers its online shopping program Click2Go at four locations -- Fort Belvoir, Fort Eustis, Oceana Naval Air Station and Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia -- with Fort McGuire, New Jersey, slated to come online April 6, according to its website. No additional locations have been announced.
And the Veterans Canteen Service, which runs retail shops at Department of Veterans Affairs locations, said it is now offering bulk grocery orders. While availability varies by location, items could include frozen food, deli meats and dairy products. Prices, however, are not necessarily competitive.
For example, according to an order sheet, five pounds of raw chicken will cost shoppers about $5 per pound, well above the national average of $3.18 per pound. And a 40-ounce bag of Frosted Flakes is priced at almost $.38 an ounce, above Walmart.com's $.33 per ounce non-sale price. Veterans interested in the service should contact their local VA facility for more information, it said.
-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at email@example.com.