Worker training is a big part of how SpartanNash aims to provide a competitive e-commerce offering, Matt Van Gilder, director of e-commerce and digital experience at SpartanNash, said in an interview with Anne Mezzenga, co-CEO of retail blog Omni Talk, at Groceryshop.
SpartanNash, which operates nearly 150 stores across several banners, is one of the many regional grocers that have invested in branded services that exist alongside partnerships with app marketplace giants like Instacart and DoorDash. For its branded service, the grocer and distributor relies on its own employees to pick and pack the online orders.
“We double down in our training program and we created this certification process for our in-store personal shoppers,” Van Gilder told Mezzenga.
The certification process includes hours of “challenging” online courses that include questions after each course that participants have to get 100% correct before they can advance to the next one, he said. Once a person has completed the online component, SpartanNash’s operations team goes to their store to watch the person complete orders.
“We have a checklist of 100 questions that we need to see them do in person so we can really say, “Yes, you are top-notch in delivering service and you stand for what we've been training you on,’” he said.
Once an associate becomes certified, SpartanNash rewards them with a certificate and puts their picture on the company’s internal social media for its more than 17,000 associates to see. There’s also a monetary incentive to complete the training process: “Once they're certified, when they're working in that department, now they're paid $1 more an hour. We want to reward that associate for providing a high-level service,” Van Gilder said.
The training helps ensure quality service for online customers at a time when e-commerce has become “less of a necessity and more of a convenience,” Van Gilder said.
Online grocery sales will likely remain under pressure throughout this year as numerous financial headwinds persuade customers to choose costs over convenience, Brick Meets Click partner David Bishop told Grocery Dive this summer.
Mezzenga, a former Target marketing leader, called SpartanNash’s personal shopper training program “impressive,” noting that many grocers are more focused on turning to technology and onboarding workers quickly.