The Pig is now bigger online.
After offering online shopping at 10 stores for the past four years, including two in Mount Pleasant, Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co. Inc. has expanded its "Click 'n Shop" program to 26 more locations, including 12 new ones in the Charleston region.
The expansion nearly triples Piggly Wiggly's electronic-commerce presence in South Carolina and places the option in more than a third of the 97 stores in the Charleston-based chain, which also serves part of coastal Georgia.
Going online, local Piggly Wiggly Carolina shoppers can buy groceries and pick up their purchases at the store. Home delivery is available but only at two locations outside Charleston.
"We've enjoyed terrific success with the 10 stores where we already had it in place," said Piggly Wiggly spokesman Christopher Ibsen. "What we've seen with the customers who have taken advantage of it is tremendous loyalty."
Ibsen said it's ironic that cutting-edge technology has brought the grocery business full circle.
"It takes us back to our roots of the grocery business with a grocer personally filling an order," he said.
The service costs $5 per order or $15.95 a month. The fee on the first order is waived, Ibsen said.
Participating stores have parking spaces set aside for Click 'n Shop customers who want to park, come inside and pick up their orders at the customer service desk, or customers can call the store a few minutes before they arrive and have an employee bring the order out and place it in the car. Each store has a hand-held device for credit or debit cards.
"After the first visit, we believe people are programming the store's telephone number in their phones so they can call on the way to the store," Ibsen said. "For the fast-paced lifestyle, to make life easier, for those having difficulty shopping or those vacationing, they can simply show up and have their groceries ready so they can enjoy their vacation and get on with their lives."
Employees are trained to shop for items as if they were buying for themselves so customers will get the freshest-looking fruits and vegetables, Ibsen said. "They are treating it like it's their order," he said.
Perishable items are stored in cold areas until they are picked up. Piggly Wiggly decided to expand the online offering to more stores because of its initial success.
"The program has been profitable and a proven way to acquire and retain our customers," said Robert Masche, chief supply chain officer at Piggly Wiggly. "It only makes sense for us to expand this to new markets. We believe our online grocery channel will continue to grow as word of its quality and convenience spreads."
Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or on Twitter at @warrenlancewise.
Charleston-based Piggly Wiggly previously offered online service locally at its Mount Pleasant stores at 1220 Ben Sawyer Blvd. and 1981 Riviera Drive. "Click 'n Shop" -- available at www.thepig.net/OnlineStores.asp -- is now being expanded to other area supermarkets:445 Meeting St., Charleston630 Skylark Drive, West Ashley680 Bacons Bridge Road, Summerville100 W. Main St., Moncks Corner1739 Maybank Highway, James Island1985 Folly Road, James Island8780 Rivers Ave., North Charleston1005 Harborview Road, James Island5101 Ashley Phosphate Road, North Charleston9616 Highway 78, Ladson14 Sumar St., West Ashley3575 Maybank Highway, Johns Island