- Kroger says its Clicklist e-commerce service is adding jobs at a rate of around 25 to 35 per store, according to Memphis’s Commercial Appeal.
- Most of the positions are part time. However, they include three full-time employees: A manager, a lead selector, and a lead car delivery attendant.
- Kroger said it has not cut in-store jobs as its e-commerce service has rolled out, and anticipates adding even more positions as it expands its new home delivery service.
With e-commerce increasingly looking like the future of grocery, Kroger is working hard to keep pace with the times. Its Clicklist service, in which customers order products online and pick them up curbside, began rolling out in July 2015 and is now available at more than 500 stores nationwide.
Online retailing could provide a huge revenue boost for brick-and-mortar supermarkets. But many worry that the growth of e-commerce will come at the expense of food retail jobs, since fewer workers will be needed in stores.
Kroger’s experience shows this may not be the case. A grocer’s online sales may not negatively impact its store sales — two may actually benefit each other. According to Kroger data, picking up online orders at stores encourages additional sales in those stores.
This seems like good news for workers. But it’s important to note that the majority of e-commerce jobs are part time. These are the picking, sorting and delivery jobs that fuel online grocery, but that are subject to the winds of digital demand. So while there may be more jobs, they may not be secure, long-term jobs.
The most relevant example here is Instacart, which despite its continuing expansion and high valuation has frequently butted heads with its workers. It’s cut pay for workers on several occasions, and briefly outlawed tips directly from customers — a major revenue source, workers said — in favor of communal tipping. Last year, workers brought a class action lawsuit against the company.
Instacart has maintained its policies are aimed at creating a level field for all its workers. And this could certainly be the case, but for retailers it raises a note of caution as they venture outside of their core competencies.