Meijer launches online grocery-shopping service

3/20/2011 21:10:57 PM

Snowbound? Need some groceries? Don't plan on leaving your home for several days?

Grand Rapids, Mich.-based grocery chain Meijer this week has launched a new online grocery-shopping service that allows customers to purchase food and other items online, then have the items shipped to their doorstep.

The website,, debuted Monday. Groceries can be shipped to Champaign-Urbana, throughout the U.S. and even abroad.

Since about 2009, Meijer has tested the market for shipping groceries through a program called "groceries by the case" in which people or businesses could buy items in bulk, said company spokesman Frank Guglielmi.

Doorstep Grocer "is the next evolution of that," he said.

"We got a lot of feedback from customers (of the 'groceries by the case'), and they told us they would like to have options to buy not in bulk. They didn't necessarily need a case of ranch dressing," he said.

About 5,000 different products in single packs and multi-packs are now being sold online. Right now only non-perishable food and groceries are being shipped.

Name-brand and Meijer-brand items are now being sold online as well as baby supplies, pet food, cleaning supplies, health and beauty products and more.

Shipping costs start around $7.95 and fees are calculated based on the value of the order. There is no minimum order requirement for delivery. The items are shipped to customers in two to four days.

"This is not about products coming from the store to home," he said. The products are shipped to the customer from the same distribution center that serves the stores in the customer's area.

In a few markets, such as in Chicago, Columbus, Ohio and Grand Rapids, Meijer also has been testing a program called Grocery Express where people can place an order online and then pick it up in the store.

In Champaign-Urbana, the Schnucks grocery-store chain has offered a delivery service since the late 1990s. For that program, customers go online and place an order and can have the items delivered from the store to their house. The store also offers pick-up service, where customers can place an order for groceries, then pick them up at the store.

County Market currently does not have a delivery or shipping service, although the store does regularly deliver groceries to some residents of a nursing home, said regional director of operations Tod Engel.

Guglielmi said he believes the new grocery shopping service will appeal to a range of customers, including families with children, customers with limited mobility, homebound seniors, or even parents who want to send groceries to their child attending college away from home.

"Some folks who live in urban areas may not have large variety of grocery-store options near them or some live in a very rural area where they must drive for an hour to get to their grocery store. And it could be for folks abroad who want certain Meijer products," Guglielmi said.

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