Albertsons Cos. aims to give online grocery shoppers another contactless fulfillment option with a pilot of e-commerce pickup lockers at selected Jewel-Osco and Safeway supermarkets.
Albertsons said Monday that the new service, branded as PickUp, will use Bell and Howell modular, temperature-controlled lockers, which can be located indoors or outdoors. The Boise, Idaho-based grocer noted that individual columns in the modular setup can be adjusted to specific temperatures to preserve the freshness of a wide variety of grocery orders.
Customers in neighborhoods with stores offering the lockers will notice a new “PickUp” option when they shop online or via the mobile app. Those using the service select the PickUp option and then choose a time window to pick up their order. Upon completing their purchase, customers receive a unique code to use at the self-serve lockers to retrieve their groceries.
“Contactless PickUp through our state-of-the-art, temperature-controlled lockers makes it even easier to shop with us,” Chris Rupp, executive vice president and chief customer and digital officer at Albertsons Cos., said in a statement. “Whether customers choose to shop in our familiar neighborhood stores or through our websites and apps, we are ready to provide them with extraordinary service where and how they want to get their groceries. Our strategy to leverage technology and innovation to continue to grow our digital business is focused on creating products customers love that truly make their lives easier.”
Plans call for the PickUp lockers to launch first at Jewel-Osco locations in Chicago and then be deployed at Safeway locations in the Bay Area later this year, according to Albertsons.
“We are excited to partner with Albertsons Cos. to help them deliver a convenient and contactless pickup experience for their customers,” stated Larry Blue, CEO of Durham, N.C.-based Bell and Howell. “With our temperature-controlled grocery lockers, Albertsons Cos. customers can quickly and conveniently pick up their entire order, from heated to frozen food items, whenever and wherever they want.”
Albertsons has continued to expand its online grocery services, fueled by booming digital sales growth that jumped 276% year over year in its first quarter ended June 20, the company’s most recently completed reporting period. At the close of the quarter, the retailer had Drive Up & Go curbside service in 731 stores, up from 600 at the start of the fiscal year. Plans call for 1,400 sites by the end of the year and more than 1,600 within two years. Home delivery also is being expanded and is now available in 90% of stores through Instacart and Albertsons’ own delivery service, with the latter offered at nearly 65% of stores.
Overall, Albertsons Cos. operates 2,252 retail stores (including 1,726 pharmacies and 402 fuel centers) in 34 states and the District of Columbia under such banners as Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs, Jewel-Osco, Acme, Shaw's, Star Market, United Supermarkets, Market Street and Haggen.