The latest innovation now offered at all 247 military commissaries is a new rewards card that allows customers to download coupons and redeem them at checkout. But that is only the beginning in what DCA chief Joseph Jeu is calling “Commissary Benefit 2020.”
Another idea is to open warehouse stores in areas such as San Antonio and San Diego that have multiple commissaries. The military groceries already save customers about 32 percent compared to civilian establishments, in part due to a $1.4 billion annual congressional subsidy. The bulk stores would save them even more.
Another initiative would allow customers to pre-order and pre-pay for their groceries online then arrive at the commissary to find their items packed and ready for pickup.
Jeu is also looking at reserve and National Guard units located in areas not currently served by a military commissary. Reservists could pre-order and pre-pay and a truck would arrive at a designated site with their groceries packed and ready for pickup.
Maintaining popular items on commissary shelves is also an objective.
“When a new product comes out, we want to have those items at the same time as commercial grocery chains while removing stock that’s not moving ,” Jeu is quoted in a Pentagon press release. “It’s a constant balancing act and something we constantly monitor. We want to make sure we are offering the products our customers want.”
Many initiatives are already working well for the commissary system. Customers rated it 4.72 on a scale of 5 during a recent satisfaction survey, the press release specified. In the industry-wide American Customer Satisfaction Index, commissaries ranked 81, six points above the industry average and second overall compared to the nation’s major commercial chains.
“We will continue to search for new efficiencies and at the same time provide the same level of savings for our people,” Jeu said.