Salem Walmart rolls out online grocery program

Kate Wehlann, Staff Writer

If you’ve noticed a newly decorated set of parking spots in the Walmart parking lot, they aren’t painted just to look pretty. The store is rolling out online grocery shopping in September. Shoppers can order groceries and other items online — between two hours and six days before they need them — and simply pull into an assigned parking spot and a store associate will run the items out to them, free of charge.

“It’s been stressful, but it’s a good stressful,” said Tara Wimberly, who is managing the online grocery program. “It brings me back to the way it felt when we were getting ready to open the store. Feedback from customers and associates is what’s driving us.”

Wimberly spent two weeks in Illinois training to operate the program at the Walmart Academy.

“It’s a big deal to go to that training,” she said. “Online grocery is the future of Walmart, so it’s important to learn it.”

Wimberly said this opens up a new avenue for customer service and Store Manager Mike King agreed.

“I have a daughter with a newborn,” he said. “Going to the store requires getting the baby into the carseat, all the things the baby needs while she’s out, getting there, getting the baby out — with this, she can go online and put in her order. She doesn’t have to get the baby out of the car and they just bring it to the car. It’s a great service for us.”

Those with physical disabilities or don’t want to risk falling on the ice in bad weather or even an able-bodied person who just wants to get home after work instead of making a shopping trip will benefit from the service, King said.

“They can go online on their lunch break, fill in their list and by 5 p.m., stop by and an associate will bring out their groceries,” he said. “Tara went to a store that’s doing it, but we’ll do it better because that’s what Salem Walmart is all about. We like winning.”

See the full story on this new program in today's issue of The Salem Democrat, on newsstands now.

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