In rolling out online grocery services, SpartanNash aims to match the medium to the market.
The distributor now offers online grocery shopping and curbside pickup through its Fast Lane service at 60 corporate-owned stores — under the Family Fare Supermarkets, D&W Fresh Market, Family Fresh Market, VG’s Grocery and Dan’s Supermarket banners — in Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The click-and-collect service initially launched at a Family Fare store in Grandville, Mich., in July 2017.
SpartanNash, which operates 142 stores overall, also provides online grocery home delivery in seven markets via Fast Lane and is currently piloting at-home delivery in several markets with Instacart and The Grocery Runners.
Most recently, the Fast Lane click-and-collect program became available at the VG’s store in Caro and the D&W store in Kalamazoo, Mich., joining the Family Fare, Forest Hills Foods and other D&W and VG’s locations in the state offering the service.
“The curbside pickup program is currently available at 60 stores, and we'll continue to expand that number in 2018 and beyond. As with many retail operations, it takes time to implement it throughout our company footprint,” said Brian Holt, vice president of marketing at Grand Rapids, Mich.-based SpartanNash. “With 14 store banners serving store guests in eight states, we recognize that Fast Lane isn’t for every market at this time. Each store and each customer is different, and our long-term goal is to create the best Fast Lane experience possible in the markets where it is offered while continuing to evaluate our markets and customer needs.”
To use the Fast Lane service, customers go online to ShopTheFastLane.com, order their groceries and select a time frame to pick up their items at a designated parking spot at their local store. Orders must be placed by a certain time, depending on the store, for same-day pickup. Fast Lane personal shoppers, who are SpartanNash associates, pick the ordered items from store aisles. In submitting their orders, customers can make notes for the Fast Lane shoppers to follow, including requests for specific items, such as green bananas or thick-sliced ham from the deli.
“Since we launched Fast Lane in July 2017, we have continued to expand its offerings and convenience for our customers,” Holt said. “For example, in February 2018, we added the ability to clip digital coupons instantly on ShopTheFastLane.com, giving customers additional ways to maximize their savings by alerting them to digital coupons they can clip and redeem the instant they add eligible items to their online cart.”
SpartanNash first launched home delivery via Fast Lane in late November at a D&W store in Grand Rapids (serving five ZIP codes). Personal shoppers and delivery drivers in the Fast Lane program are SpartanNash associates. The company then expanded Fast Lane home delivery to five more Grand Rapids-area stores (serving 24 ZIP codes), including Family Fare, D&W and Forest Hill Foods. The service is now offered in Grand Rapids, Holland and Fenton, Mich.; Bismarck, N.D.; Rapid City, S.D.; Hudson, Wis.; and St. Peter, Minn.
Home delivery programs are being tested in the Omaha, Neb., and Fargo, N.D., markets with Instacart and in Holland and Fenton, Mich., and Rapid City, S.D., with The Grocery Runners.
“Through our partnership with Instacart, store guests can select from 16 Family Fare stores in Omaha and Fargo, with Instacart shoppers fulfilling the orders and delivering their groceries from store to door,” Holt explained. “Through our partnership with The Grocery Runners, our own Family Fare and VG’s associates shop customer orders in-store and focus on selecting fresh, quality items from each aisle, with The Grocery Runners taking the orders ‘the final mile’ to our customers’ doorsteps in Holland, eastern Michigan and Rapid City.”
Going forward, Holt noted, SpartanNash will employ a simple formula in growing home delivery service: what works best for the customer.
“As we evaluate each at-home delivery option, we'll look at which stores make the most sense to expand the additional home delivery offering and how best to fulfill those orders, whether through our own associates or through a partnership with a third-party vendor,” he said.