BJ's Just Made Its Online Shopping Experience Even More Inclusive

BJ's Wholesale Club has announced that they will make their shopping experience a lot more inclusive by joining the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot. This will add Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program electronic benefits transfer (SNAP EBT) to their in-club pick up and curbside pickup orders.

In a statement sent to Mashed, the company explained that the initial rollout for the program had already occurred in North Carolina and Florida and is set to expand to the rest of the country in the spring. In a further explanation given on the help section of the BJ's website, shoppers can choose a SNAP EBT eligible item on their webstore, enter their SNAP EBT information at checkout, and then pay with their available EBT. Refunds for goods returned will be refunded to EBT cards. They then direct inquirers to the selection of food available for EBT purchase (via BJ's).

The major importance of BJ's Wholesale Club joining the initiative now is that during a global pandemic, people reliant on SNAP EBT can purchase the foods they need with the same level of safety as all other customers. 

Expanding benefits to fit a new age

Joining the SNAP Online Purchasing Program is not the same as initiating SNAP acceptance. Since 2009, as Progressive Grocer covered, BJ's Wholesale Club accepted EBT payments nationwide, making it the first wholesaler to do so.

Rather, the SNAP Online Purchasing Program launched in 2019 as a test to see how well digitizing would work. "People who receive SNAP benefits should have the opportunity to shop for food the same way more and more Americans shop for food — by ordering and paying for groceries online," Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, explained in the department's announcement for the program (via USDA). "As technology advances, it is important for SNAP to advance too, so we can ensure the same shopping options are available for both non-SNAP and SNAP recipients."

Amazon, ShopRite, and Walmart collaborated with the United States Department of Agriculture in initiating the two-year test run that began in New York. As over two years have passed since its inception and BJ's Wholesale Club has now joined the brands that will accept digital SNAPS, the program seems a success.