After home delivery of groceries flopped 15 years ago, grocers are trying out their newest idea — online grocery shopping with curbside pickup.
“It’s become clear online food shoppers want to avoid what they don’t like about the shopping experience, not the drive to get there,” said Greg Buzek, president of IHL Services, which tracks retail tech trends.
A regional grocery store chain is trying out the service in its Citrus Park, Fla., store.
The company, which lost $50 million before closing its online home delivery supermarket in south Florida in 2003, is taking it slow this time. The chain offers the program at just one Florida location and two others in Atlanta. It has no immediate plans to expand the curbside program to other stores.
For $7.99 an order, the store uses trained pickers to fill online orders from the store aisles. They hold the order for pickup from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. seven days a week. For grocers, curbside pickup is simpler, cheaper and less hassle than asking customers to wait for a two-hour home delivery window.
The five groups that are most likely to use the service are:
- People with children at home
- Older baby boomers
- Shut-ins and the disabled
- People looking for a tool that instills diet or budget discipline
- Surprise users such as hotels with no restaurant that cater meetings and office workers who combine deli sandwich orders online
Source: Tampa Bay, August 2011