Grocers Expanding ‘Click & Collect’ Services
Fast, efficient, and cost-effective home delivery has been a hotly debated topic within the grocery industry over the past few years. While Ahold-owned grocery delivery company Peapod was founded over 25 years ago, the rest of the mainstream supermarket industry has been slow to adapt. More retailers are jumping aboard, however, while utilizing different methods to meet the increasing consumer demand for home grocery delivery.
Recently, Shipt, a fairly new delivery startup based in Birmingham AL, began delivering groceries from Publix in the Tampa, FL area. Shipt operates in 23 cities across nine states, and the company is rapidly expanding; Florida currently is the company’s largest market. The demand for Publix groceries was so popular upon launch that Shipt had trouble meeting consumer requests. Customers do their virtual grocery shopping via a smart phone app, and then a Shipt ‘shopper’ fulfills the order at an actual Publix store and delivers to the home. Delivery is free for its members on orders over $35. While Shipt sources groceries from local supermarkets, the company is not endorsed by or affiliated with any particular store.
Two of the world’s largest retailers, Amazon and Walmart, have also made headway in the grocery delivery game. Amazon Fresh has been well-received in the areas it serves, and the company has recently begun opening urban warehouse concepts to increase the performance of its Amazon Prime delivery service. Walmart, on the other hand, is offering online grocery ordering with free same-day pickup at select store locations.
Kroger, the nation’s largest traditional supermarket operator, integrated Harris-Teeter’s online ordering and customer pickup service when it acquired the company two years ago. Now the company seems to be expanding its model for online services to its hometown market of Cincinnati. Grocery Runners, another delivery startup, deliveries groceries from Kroger throughout five zip codes in the city. However, this small sample area is not yet a large-scale philosophy. Kroger is not taking any certain position with Grocery Runners, nor is it advertising it. Conversely, the company is committed to focusing on growing its digital ordering offerings through the ClickList service at more locations throughout the year.