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July 08. 2014 7:26PM

Groceries on the go coming to Goffstown

GOFFSTOWN — The dreaded weekly trip to the market will be getting a little easier for consumers eager to finish their grocery shopping with as little hassle as possible. Hannaford Supermarkets — the only grocery chain in New Hampshire that offers curbside pick-up — is launching its online service next week in Goffstown.

The Hannaford To Go program will be offered starting July 18 at the Goffstown Hannaford store, 605 Mast Road.

“This has been a very popular program, especially for people who are time-starved,” said Eric Blom, spokesperson for Hannaford supermarkets.

The Goffstown site is the second Hannaford store in New Hampshire to offer curbside grocery pick-up. A store in Dover began piloting the program a couple of years ago.

“There is no other curbside (grocery) pick-up in New Hampshire at this time, so this is a valuable service for our customers,” said Blom.

Rather than heading into the grocery store, grabbing a cart and rolling through each aisle for food, the Hannaford To Go program allows customers to shop online for their products.

Patrons can visit the Hannaford website, click on the Goffstown store option and begin filling out their shopping list. Every product available in the store is available online for the same price, Blom said.

“With today’s competitive environment, everyone is trying to differentiate themselves from other grocery stores,” said John Dumais, president and CEO of the New Hampshire Grocers Association. “This is all about customer service. Consumers today have busy lifestyles and are always trying to minimize the time they spend shopping. This is a great convenience, and there are a lot of benefits to this service.”

After selecting online grocery items to purchase, customers can also add specific requests to customize their shopping experience. For instance, if shoppers want green bananas or soft kiwi, they can make that known on their list.

Once the order is complete, a time is selected for pick-up and customers can drive to select parking spaces reserved for Hannaford To Go shoppers. Employees will load the groceries into vehicles and customers can pay for their food without ever leaving their vehicles, Blom said.

The curbside service helps working parents, disabled individuals, elderly shoppers, families with young children and people strapped for time, he said.

Although the Hannaford stores in Dover and Goffstown are the only grocery stores in New Hampshire offering the service, Blom said the company is exploring other possible Hannaford locations throughout the state.

“It is a process, and we are going to expand this,” he said, adding customer feedback is still being considered. There are two Hannaford stores in New York and one in Maine that are offering the program.

Blom said the online process is user-friendly and intuitive, noting standing grocery lists can be kept for patrons who tend to purchase similar grocery items each week. He said employees need at least four hours to fill orders.

The first online grocery order is free, and every order of at least $125 is always free. After the first free order, there is a $5 service charge for any order less than $125.

“These have become destination sites,” Blom said of the Hannaford stores offering the curbside pick-up.

Dumais said the online grocery service is taking hold across the country, and is extremely popular in California and some other states.

“I see this as a possible growing trend in New Hampshire as well, which would be especially favorable for facilities that have the footprint and capability to make it possible,” Dumais said of the curbside pickup.

Coupons and gift cards are also accepted through Hannaford’s online service, which must be paid with credit cards, debit cards or checks. No cash is accepted at the curbside pickup. Pharmacy prescriptions are not included in the service.

The Goffstown store will begin the online service on July 18. To begin shopping, visit www.hannaford.com/togo.

khoughton@newstote.com


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