A new mode of grocery shopping is emerging that combines digital with a trip to the physical store.
A new mode of grocery shopping is emerging that combines digital with a trip to the physical store: “Click and collect” entails ordering online, then retrieving the goods at a store nearby. In the U.K., Tesco recently initiated curbside pickups: For a small charge, the local store will pack an Internet order, place it at a drive-through storage spot and even load the bags into the customer’s car. Asda introduced the option at a handful of stores earlier this year, and various other chains offer it as well. French grocery chain Groupe Auchan pioneered the drive-through pickup concept in 2000, and now France boasts nearly 1,000 drive-through locations run by Auchan and competitors such as Leclerc and Carrefour.
In Australia, Coles is trialing a “click-and-collect” service, and Woolworths recently rolled out a similar service at a store in suburban Sydney. In the U.S., Peapod—the delivery service run by the Dutch-owned Stop & Shop Supermarkets—is testing curbside pickup at one Massachusetts location to entice customers unwilling to pay the $7 to $10 fee for home delivery (free for now, this service will eventually cost $2.95). In October, the chain will open a second such operation in Rhode Island. Online retailers are getting into the pickup game too: Amazon has been installing delivery lockers in supermarkets and drugstores in New York, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco.
Consumers appear to be taking to the concept. In January, a U.K. survey found that 70 percent said click and collect was very satisfactory the last time they used the service. And John Lewis recently reported that its click and collect service grew 114 percent across its department store and Waitrose grocery chain in the first half. While the offering won’t be easy to implement, it will become a key way to differentiate retailers from rivals and drive customer satisfaction.