With the upsurge in online grocery orders since the coronavirus outbreak, United Supermarkets aims to make its STREETside pickup program more efficient with the help of location-based technology from Radius Networks.
Lubbock, Texas-based United, part of Albertsons Cos., plans to implement Radius’ FlyBuy Pickup solution to automate the curbside pickup experience. The grocery chain, with 94 stores under multiple banners in 53 Texas and New Mexico communities, has seen curbside click-and-collect orders more than triple during the COVID-19 crisis.
“As you can imagine, we are currently working on all cylinders to service our in-store, curbside and delivery guests,” Chris Farr, director of e-commerce at United Supermarkets, said in a statement. “Being able to reduce the guest wait time by preparing their order before they arrive is a game-changer.”
FlyBuy works by enabling two-way communication between customers and the store designated for pickup, according to Washington, D.C.-based Radius. 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 during the customer’s trip so they can prepare and carry the order to the car as soon as the customer pulls into the designated pickup area.
The solution also can be used to automate buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) service. To maximize efficiency, serviceable spaces are defined in the retailer’s parking lot, including zones for curbside orders and BOPIS orders.
“FlyBuy will be integrated with both our e-commerce and picking applications to streamline operations so there is very little disruption to the way our team members currently operate,” Farr explained. “This allows us to prioritize order fulfillment while creating a frictionless and personalized experience for our guests.”
Radius said FlyBuy Pickup uses proprietary machine-learning technology to calculate a customer’s arrival time and on-premise location. The Washington, D.C.-based company noted that real-time location updates will enable United Supermarket associates to prioritize orders based on customers’ arrival times and bring the orders as soon as they pull up in the STREETside pickup zone, reducing wait times.
“In light of current events, helping retailers with the significant increase in online orders is essential, and creating a smooth curbside or doorside pickup experience is more important than ever,” stated Jeff Baskin, executive vice president of global partnerships at Radius Networks. “Associates inside of the store are working hard to keep food on the shelves, and we can help them maximize their efficiencies while creating a seamless experience for the customer at the curb. We are excited to partner with Chris and the innovative team at United Supermarkets to bring this technology to their associates and especially their customers.”
United’s family of stores includes the United Supermarkets, Market Street, Amigos, Albertsons Market and United Express retail banners. Parent company Albertsons saw digital sales jump 32% year over year for its fiscal 2019 fourth quarter ended Feb. 29. Through the first eight weeks of the fiscal 2020 first quarter, the Boise, Idaho-based retailer’s e-commerce sales were up 243%, including gains of 109% in March and 374% in April.
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