It’s a go: Commissary shoppers in eight locations around the country can now travel from their computer to their front door to pick up their groceries.
Commissaries at eight military installations are testing doorstep delivery of groceries within a 20-mile driving radius of the stores. If the test — which began today and runs through Aug. 30 — is successful, the plan is to eventually deliver groceries from all commissaries in the continental U.S. to customers on and off base.
The stores are: Fort Belvoir and Norfolk Naval Station in Virginia; Scott Air Force Base, Illinois; Fort Bragg South, North Carolina; MacDill Air Force Base, Florida; Fort Lewis, Washington; and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and Naval Station San Diego in California.
The doorstep delivery service is an extension of the current worldwide Click2Go program, where customers order their commissary items online, pay for it and then pick it up at the commissary curbside. Now, the commissary agency is taking it to the next step.
It’s an effort to give eligible customers more convenient access to their benefit, according to Bill Moore, director and CEO of the Defense Commissary Agency. “We learned from our focus group of new young, single enlisted service members that they value convenience as much as their savings, and they want low-cost, healthy options,” he said in an announcement of the start of the test.
The delivery fee in most cases will be less than $4. That’s in addition to the cost of groceries, the commissary 5% surcharge, and any tips you provide for the delivery driver.
The service is open to all authorized customers within the 20-mile radius. This includes active duty, Guard and reserve members; military retirees; Medal of Honor and Purple Heart recipients; former prisoners of war; 100 percent disabled veterans and those with a VA-documented service-connected disability rating; authorized family members; and VA-approved and designated primary family caregivers of eligible veterans.
Here’s how it works, according to commissary officials:
♦ The authorized customer logs on to shop.commissaries.com, and clicks the Click2Go button. After authentication, you select your store and choose from that store’s full assortment of grocery or center-store, items. Frozen foods are available, as well as fresh fruits and veggies. In some cases, there’s a smaller, more refined selection online than what you find in the store of top selling items such as fresh meat, deli and bakery items and fresh seafood. As you shop online, the virtual shopping basket is updated, reflecting the items and prices.
♦ Once you’ve finished shopping, you proceed to checkout and select the “Delivery” option.
♦ You enter your address and choose a two-hour window for delivery, with a minimum lead time of three to four hours.
♦ The eCommerce system determines whether you’re within the delivery area and if your chosen delivery window is available.
♦ Once confirmed, you’ll finalize payment for your order — cost of groceries, the 5% surcharge, delivery fees and your tip for the driver.
♦ The commissary agency will email you to confirm the order number, transaction amount, delivery date and window.
♦ If delivery isn’t possible, you’ll be offered an opportunity to pick up your groceries at the store or cancel the order.
In April, the commissary agency awarded contracts to two companies to provide the delivery service: ChowCall of Chesapeake, Virginia, for $177,084; and YouUp Delivery Inc., of Roswell, Georgia, for $72,915, according to the contract documents.
Both companies are hiring.
Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.