Albertsons’ pilot is latest part of the plan to supercharge omnichannel ops
Albertsons wants a bigger slice of the grocery market pie and the supermarket giant sees frictionless shopping experiences as a means to achieve that goal with the novel coronavirus pandemic continuing to spread across the U.S.
The latest proof of the grocer’s intent is a pilot program being conducted at a Chicago-area Jewel-Osco, a 188-store chain owned by Albertsons, that tests an automated pickup kiosk. The temperature-controlled kiosk, positioned in the parking lot at the store, is intended to provide an easy and contact-free way for Jewel-Osco’s customers to pick up their online orders.
The customers place their orders online and choose from two-hour windows. When they arrive at the kiosk, they scan a code from their phone and their orders are delivered to the front of the device. The kiosk unit features two temperature zones (regular and deep freeze) to hold orders that are delivered to the same console for customers to retrieve. Orders are placed in the kiosks by store associates.
Albertsons is also planning to test the same technology at one of its Safeway stores in the San Francisco Bay area. The grocer is not alone in trying out automated pickup stations — Walmart has done the same at stores in Oklahoma and Texas going back to 2017.
“We are supercharging our digital and omnichannel offerings to serve customers however they want, whenever they want,” said Chris Rupp, EVP and chief customer & digital officer at Albertsons. “This innovative and contactless PickUp kiosk makes it even easier for customers to shop with us in a way that is convenient for them.”
In October, Albertsons announced that it was testing temperature-controlled pickup lockers inside and outside of some stores in Chicago and San Francisco. At the time, Mr. Rupp said, “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.”
Albertsons reported earlier this month that it achieved a 12.3 percent gain in same-store sales during its third quarter driven by a 225 percent jump in digital revenues. The grocer recently gained attention when it made the decision to outsource online order delivery to third-party services rather than using its in-house drivers.
- Albertsons Companies Debuts Automated Grocery PickUp Kiosk at Jewel-Osco Store in Chicago – Albertsons Companies/Business Wire
- Jewel-Osco pilots automated pickup kiosk as online grocery shopping soars – Chicago Tribune/Yahoo News
- Albertsons Companies, Inc. Reports Third Quarter Fiscal 2020 Results – Albertsons Companies, Inc.
- Albertsons offers a new refrigerated take on store pickup – RetailWire
- Albertsons ditching in-house drivers to deliver online orders – RetailWire
- Walmart expands test of giant automated grocery kiosk – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How well does Albertsons stack up when it comes to developing its omnichannel operations? Where do you see the greatest opportunities for the grocer to leverage its physical presence to drive sales and market share whether online or in stores?