The nation’s largest supermarket retailer is giving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients a new way to shop.
Kroger is now accepting payments from the SNAP program, a service provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) typically referred to as “food stamps,” for curbside pickup of online orders. The grocer is rolling out the capability to all of its nearly 2,800 stores across all banners.
Customers can select their preferred store location on the Kroger website or mobile app, shop and place their order, select a pickup date and time and SNAP/EBT as the payment method. Shoppers using an EBT card will present their payment method at the time of pickup.
A Kroger associate will shop for the order. When it’s time to pick up their order, the customer looks for the pickup signs in the store's parking lot and pulls into their parking spot, then calls the number on the sign to let an associate know they have arrived. An associate will bring the order out and load it into the shopper’s car. At this time, EBT card customers can complete their transaction via a mobile POS system and pay for ineligible EBT purchases or any remaining balance with their debit or credit card.
"Kroger is excited to now have this SNAP/EBT payment option available for pickup customers as we rapidly activate the feature in all our markets," said Yael Cosset, Kroger's chief technology and digital officer. "Through our e-commerce services, we remain committed to providing our customers with ways to save more time and maintain physical distancing."
Kroger currently offers curbside pickup at more than 2,000 stores across America. Already live in Ohio, Kroger anticipates having the ability to support EBT card payments at all stores by the end of April.
Other steps Kroger has taken to support its higher volume of pickup orders during the COVID-19 pandemic include hiring additional e-commerce associates, adding more order pick-up slots, increasing customer communication, and piloting a pickup-only store location in Cincinnati.
Additionally, Kroger has waived the pickup fee (generally $4.95) for all orders, with no minimum purchase threshold required, to encourage more customers to use the low-contact service during the pandemic.
To help customers shop more safely and quickly, Kroger is in the process of rolling out an improved scan, bag and go mobile app nationwide. Customers using the feature can bring their clean reusable bags to the store where permissible – or use bags available at the store – to shop, scan and bag their groceries as they go. When a customer completes their shopping trip, they can pay with their phone, allowing them to bypass the traditional checkout process.
Kroger is accepting SNAP payment for some digital transactions as Amazon and Walmart have been piloting SNAP as a payment method for delivery of eligible online grocery purchases.