Neighborhood Markets Bring Consistency to Service, Schedules

By Todd Harbaugh
September 6, 2017
Neighborhood Market associates in aisle together

Customers today have more choices and ways of shopping than ever before — from in stores to online; from using an app to buying with your voice.

As shopping has become more convenient, saving time has become as important to our customers as saving money.

Over the past few years, customers have noticed a number of improvements we’ve made in our stores to make them quicker and easier to shop. We’ve just implemented a new one in many of our Neighborhood Markets that we think customers are going to love.

In more than 430 of our Neighborhood Market stores that are already closed overnight, we are moving more associates closer to the customer – shifting overnight stocking hours to the daytime and using technology to make the inventory management process easier.

We expect this change to have two great benefits:

  • For our customers, it means a more consistent in-store experience. We’ll have more people available on the sales floor to provide customer service, answer questions and help make sure products are available.
  • For our associates it means more customer-facing roles and the ability to move to a more desirable and consistent daytime schedule. It also means more interactions with fellow associates, customers and management, as well as more opportunities to serve and learn from people they wouldn’t otherwise interact with during an overnight shift.

We initially piloted day-stocking in 50 stores in and around the Tampa and Dallas areas, and the results were very encouraging. Customer service and productivity both improved and associates who’d previously worked the overnight shift told us the liked the ability to move to day shift.

When changes like this are made, we know people have a lot of questions about what it means for them. Store managers are taking a very hands-on approach to transitioning people from overnight to daytime and answering all the questions our associates have about the change. If someone wants to keep their overnight shift, we will work with nearby supercenters or distribution centers to see if there are options to better fit their schedules.

The needs of our customers and associates are rapidly changing and it’s important that we adapt and evolve with them. We’re moving more work to the day time to make sure customers are being well-served during the hours they’re shopping our Neighborhood Markets. With this change, we’re adding availability and creating opportunities for associates to work more sought-after daytime shifts.

Improving how we deliver for our customers while simultaneously improving the experience of our Neighborhood Market associates — that’s a win-win.