With e-commerce orders surging amid the coronavirus pandemic, Giant Eagle has enlisted Radius Networks’ FlyBuy Pickup solution to sharpen coordination of curbside pickup and make the service a frictionless affair for customers.
Washington, D.C.-based Radius said Wednesday that FlyBuy Pickup uses proprietary machine-learning technology to accurately predict a customer’s arrival time and on-premise location. Real-time location updates enable Giant Eagle associates to prioritize orders based on customers’ arrival times and then bring the orders as soon as they pull up to the curbside pickup area, reducing wait times.
In addition, the FlyBuy mobile software development kit (SDK) is directly integrated in Giant Eagle’s mobile application, providing the Pittsburgh-based regional grocer with a branded, frictionless experience for shoppers.
Giant Eagle noted that online orders have exploded over the past six months, including exponential growth in Giant Eagle Curbside Pickup orders. To help process pickup and delivery orders, the retailer transitioned three supermarkets — in Cuyahoga Falls and Garfield Heights, Ohio, and in Pittsburgh (Parkway Center) — to dedicated curbside pickup centers that fulfilled online orders only. The Cuyahoga Falls site remains a dedicated pickup center, while the other two sites have resumed in-store shopping but offer expanded pickup time slots, as do two other stores in Pennsylvania and another in Ohio.
“The FlyBuy platform helps us better manage the influx of Giant Eagle Curbside Pickup orders being placed,” according to Valery Ciarimboli, vice president of e-commerce operations for Giant Eagle. “Knowing our guests’ ETA and receiving live location updates and arrival alerts has transformed our curbside program for both our team members working hard in the store fulfilling orders, and for our guests who want a speedy pickup experience.”
FlyBuy works by enabling two-way communication between customers and the store designated for pickup. When an online grocery order is ready for pickup, shoppers are notified and prompted to share their location when they’re ready to drive to the store. Store associates automatically receive alerts as customers make their trip to the store so they can prepare and carry the order to their vehicle upon arrival.
“Having a system in place that enables us to ensure an order is ready and waiting when a customer pulls up is essential to our goal of meeting the increased demand with efficiency,” Ciarimboli added.
Overall, Giant Eagle operates 474 food and convenience stores, including more than 200 supermarkets, across western Pennsylvania, north central Ohio, northern West Virginia, Maryland and Indiana.
Jeff Baskin, executive vice president of global partnerships for Radius, reported that curbside pickup order volume for the company’s partners has jumped over 500% since the COVID-19 outbreak. And pickup volume is likely to remain high; Radius cited research from Brick Meets Click finding that 75% of online grocery shoppers are likely to continue using delivery and/or pickup service.
“We are excited to work with such an innovative grocer like Giant Eagle, which understands the need for short-term solutions to help get through this time but also has a long-term strategy as the trend for shoppers to move online will continue,” Baskin stated. “FlyBuy Pickup creates efficiencies in-store that allow Giant Eagle to streamline and enhance the guest experience. In a post-COVID world, customers will continue to demand shorter wait times and a frictionless experience, which will be a necessity as curbside and BOPIS [buy online, pickup in store] become the new normal for retailers moving forward.”