Sam’s Club rolls out concierge service and H-E-B does a Favor for seniors

Discussion
Photo: Sam's Club
Mar 25, 2020
George Anderson

Everyone is at risk for getting the novel coronavirus, but based on data collected since the outbreak began, older consumers, particularly those with underlying medical conditions, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and lung disease, are particularly at risk for serious illness or death.

The list of retailers that have instituted senior shopping hours — Albertsons, Big Lots, Costco, Dollar General, Giant Food, Hy-Vee, Kroger, Publix, Safeway, Target, Walmart, Whole Foods, et al — has continued to grow along with the number of COVID-19 cases reported by authorities. Many others are promoting online ordering with delivery or store pickup as options to protect the immunocompromised.

Beginning tomorrow, Sam’s Club will be introducing special shopping hours for seniors and other members with disabilities or compromised immune systems, according to a company blog post by COO Lance de la Rosa. Sam’s members will be able to go to their local clubs to shop between 7:00 and 9:00 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday. Each club’s pharmacy and optical center will also be open to serve these customers during these times.

Sam’s seniors also have the option of taking advantage of a new concierge service that allows them to shop without ever leaving their cars. From designated parking spaces, members can place their orders and have a Sam’s associate pick their order and bring it out to them.

Sam’s Club rolls out concierge service and H-E-B does a Favor for seniors
Photo: Sam’s Club

“We’re more committed than ever to deliver for our members. Whether shopping in club, on samsclub.com or via our new concierge service, we are here to deliver special,” wrote Mr. de la Rosa.

Last week, H-E-B announced the launch of its Senior Support Line, a phone hotline for customers aged 60 and up, that allows them to order from a curated list of food and other supplies from the retailer. The phone service operates between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. every day.

H-E-B is working with Favor Delivery, a wholly-owned subsidiary, to pick and deliver items for seniors in need. In addition to the phone, customers also place orders using the Favor app or its website. Items delivered are left at customers’ doorsteps to promote social distancing. Favor is waiving delivery fees, with a $10 tip going directly to the delivery person.

“There’s no such thing as being too cautious with our seniors at this time. We heard from our customers loud and clear, and we’re ready to offer an easy, convenient solution to serve seniors while keeping them safe,” said H-E-B COO Martin Otto in a statement. “Together with Favor, H-E-B is committed to helping Texans get the products they need while slowing the spread of coronavirus in our communities.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What is your assessment of how retailers are addressing the needs of the most at-risk customers during the coronavirus outbreak? Does H-E-B’s, Sam’s or another retailer program stand out to you in this respect?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"I applaud any company that is making special arrangements for their customers... it shows that the retailer is doing something to help the situation."
"I am very impressed with how the industry appears to have mobilized from supply chain to store to support everyone during this crisis."
"I expect that some of these methods will still be employed once we get through this crisis."

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8 Comments on "Sam’s Club rolls out concierge service and H-E-B does a Favor for seniors"


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Richard Hernandez
BrainTrust

Once again it is H-E-B that is a leader in the community, being forward thinking about how to take care of their customers who are at risk but still need to do their daily tasks like grocery shopping. It is a win-win — for the customers as well as the delivery person who is receiving an incentive to deliver the order.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust
Although these may be anecdotal stories of what retailers are doing to address the needs of the most at-risk consumers, I am very impressed with how the industry appears to have mobilized from supply chain to store to support everyone during this crisis. Whether dedicated senior shopping hours, concierge service like Sam’s Club is offering or specialized delivery and pickup offerings such as H-E-B is offering among many others, I am impressed that retailers are letting their creative juices flow to come up with solutions. Best Buy’s example of curbside service discussed on RetailWire yesterday is another great example. I expect more and more retailers to begin offering these capabilities. The big question I ask is, how will small and independent retailers manage to offer similar capabilities to their much larger counterparts? As these will be the retailers that stand to suffer the most financially, they will need to be extra creative in their approach and offerings to maintain the relationships with their customers. For those retailers, I suggest they watch what the larger retailers… Read more »
Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

I applaud any company that is making special arrangements for their customers. Be it curbside pickup, delivery or special hours, it shows that the retailer is doing something to help the situation.

Ralph Jacobson
BrainTrust

I love the innovation retailers are showing in these trying times. I think setting up limited “menus” for those at-risk customers enables a far more productive process that customers will ultimately appreciate.

Steve Montgomery
BrainTrust

I congratulate any retailer working to meet the essential needs of their customers in these times. They have discovered a variety of ways where they can service their customers and keep their employees safe. I expect that some of these methods will still be employed once we get through this crisis. We should also applaud all of the efforts of their supplie chain partners, including the truckers, who are working to provide the products the retailers and their customers need.

Mel Kleiman
BrainTrust

Let me start by admitting I am a senior and have taken advantage of senior shopping hours. They are great — and they are horrible. They are great for less traffic. They fail when it comes to keeping people apart. All the seniors are lined up to get into the store. They are checking ID to make sure they are seniors, this slows down the line.

I also found interesting that my local HEB has a line or lots of traffic and the smaller independent is not crowded.

Ken Morris
BrainTrust

Getting access to empty shelves is not the answer from any of these retailers. Unless the special senior shopping hours correspond to the delivery cadence, it doesn’t do our seniors any good. I have not seen any retailer do a great job. I have seen individual store managers at these chains do a great job by taking it upon themselves to limit hoarding by placing items such as hand sanitizers behind the counter and limiting purchases overriding the corporate mandate or lack thereof. We just all need to just put the welfare of the herd in front of self for once in our lives.

Sheri Blattel
Guest

It is a new order for grocery retail during this crisis. Be it small independent grocers or large corporate retailers, everyone is doing their part on the front lines of the fight against this virus to provide for the essential need of food and sustenance. Efforts are being put forth by many grocers to provide for the senior segment in such a way that helps to lessen their risk and fears while making food shopping more accessible. All of grocery retail is to be commended. Believe that grocery retail will be forever impacted in new and innovative ways resulting from this unprecedented event.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"I applaud any company that is making special arrangements for their customers... it shows that the retailer is doing something to help the situation."
"I am very impressed with how the industry appears to have mobilized from supply chain to store to support everyone during this crisis."
"I expect that some of these methods will still be employed once we get through this crisis."

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