The grocery store chain offered delivery in previous years, but ended the program due to exorbitant costs

By Morgan Raum
April 28, 2020 02:30 PM
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Trader Joe's
| Credit: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, many grocery store chains like Whole Foods and Kroger are focusing their attention on online orders and food delivery. However, not all supermarkets are following suit.

Trader Joe’s does not plan to offer delivery or pick-up, due to the high costs and “tremendous resources” required to build an entire infrastructure dedicated to online grocery shopping. Additionally, the company feels that adding these services and outsourcing delivery options “eliminates the need for people.”

“Customers are asking if given current circumstances, we’re planning on offering delivery or curbside pickup,” Tara Miller, Trader Joe’s marketing director, said in episode 24 of the company’s podcast, Inside Trader Joe’s. “We understand the impulse, and we know that some other retailers are offering these services. We also know those offerings don’t always translate into positive results.”

Matt Sloan, Trader Joe’s vice president of marketing, said, “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.”

Miller then added: “The bottom line here is that our people remain our most valued resource. While other retailers were cutting staff and adding things like self-checkout, curbside pick-up, and outsourcing delivery options, we were hiring more crew, and we continue to do that. We know that this period of distancing will end, and when it does, our crew will be in our stores to help you find your next favorite product, just like they’ve always been.”

The grocery store chain actually offered grocery delivery services in New York City in previous years, but found that the program’s associated costs were too high to continue, according to a Business Insider report.

“Instead of passing along unsustainable cost increases to our customers, removing delivery will allow us to continue offering outstanding values — quality products for great everyday prices, and to make better use of valuable space in our stores,” Trader Joe’s representative Kenya Friend-Daniel said at the time.

“This was not a decision we made lightly. We value our customers and all that they do to come shop with us.”

In their guide for grocery shopping, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend ordering online or using curbside pickup if possible. Still, grocery stores are considered an essential business amid the many coronavirus-related shutdowns. And while the pandemic has prompted shoppers to limit the number of times they visit brick-and-mortar grocery stores, with some turning entirely to delivery or pick up services, many stores like Trader Joe’s remain open.

If you must go out, the CDC says to remain at least six feet away from others, cover your mouth and nose with a mask or cloth face covering, use disinfecting wipes on your cart and try to go during off-peak hours.

The guide also urges those at a higher risk for severe illness, such as the elderly, to find out if stores have implemented special hours. Many chains, including Walmart, Target, and Costco, have hours dedicated exclusively to senior and disabled shoppers and are limiting the number of people who can be in the store at a given time.

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