The Versailles Kroger — the biggest and newest of its kind in Kentucky — has added a new system that means shoppers might not even have to set foot inside: online grocery shopping.
Cindy Snapp of Versailles was picking up her groceries at the drive-through lane on Thursday morning.
"This is my fourth time," she said as Kroger employees loaded bag after bag into her car. Snapp, who has health problems that make walking difficult, said she orders water and RC Cola by the case, and then all she has to do is get it into her house. All four times that she has used online shopping, the orders have been completely correct, she said later.
The Versailles Kroger quietly started offering online ordering in mid-July, just after the new store opened. It's the first store in Kentucky to offer online shopping, which Kroger launched last year in Cincinnati.
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Online shopping is now available at four stores in Cincinnati and two in Indianapolis.
By the end of the year, six more Kentucky stores will offer it, including the Richmond Road and Beaumont stores in Lexington, and stores in Nicholasville, Richmond, Elizabethtown and Frankfort.
Eventually, online shopping will spread through the company, with strategic locations in most major markets, Kroger spokesman Tim McGurk said.
Kroger got into online shopping last year after buying Vitacost, an online vitamin and supplement retailer, and merged with Harris Teeter, which already had an established "click-and-collect" ordering system.
CEO Rodney McMullen has indicated that Kroger is eager to expand into online shopping; the company would not release any numbers on the success of the program so far.
The early results have been "extremely successful," McGurk said, and it has been popular with seniors and people with mobility problems, families with small children, and busy professionals.
To order online, customers must have a Kroger Plus account; when a shopper logs in to the account, it calls up recent purchases, favorites and sale items among the 40,000 or so offered online.
Customers schedule a time for pickup; there is no minimum or maximum order. The first three online orders are free, but after that there is a $4.95 charge.
Produce selection has been well received, said Lisa Harrod, e-commerce manager for Kroger's Louisville division. Customers can put special instructions in their orders.
"Like 'please pick up the greenest bananas you have,'" Harrod said.
Not everything is available in online ordering: no hot foods, apparel or seasonal items, for instance. Pharmacy also isn't included; beer can be included but not spirit or wine.