- Albertsons will test in-store, self-serve lockers for contactless pickup of online orders as its latest e-commerce addition, the grocer announced Monday. The lockers from Bell and Howell will be installed later this year at select Jewel-Osco locations in Chicago and Safeway stores in the San Francisco Bay Area.
- The stores with the lockers will have a new option asking shoppers to choose a time window for pickup when ordering. Shoppers will use a code to retrieve their orders from the lockers, which are modular and temperature-controlled.
- The upcoming pickup lockers join other efforts by Albertsons to make online grocery ordering more convenient for shoppers.
In the race among grocers to make pickup up more convenient and offer fast pickup times, Albertsons’ lockers will allow shoppers to grab their groceries when it's convenient for them.
Currently, Albertsons offers delivery and curbside pickup, but the supermarket chain, which saw a 276% increase in online sales in the first quarter, has been expanding its curbside pickup with new options. Earlier this month, Albertsons and Safeway partnered up with eMeals, an online shoppable grocery list service.
As pickup continues to grow in popularity, Albertsons, like other grocers, is looking to improve the service for customers. The temperature-controlled lockers in the Albertsons pilot aim to solve the dilemma of providing heated or frozen items to consumers. The lockers, which Albertsons said are suitable for indoor and outdoor locations, have individual columns that can be adjusted to maintain specific temperatures.
Retailers need to assess which type of pickup — from in-store to curbside to offsite — would work best at each store, David Bishop, partner with consulting firm Brick Meets Click, said. "Pickup lockers may be considered a better option for stores that are in densely-populated urban areas where there's much more pedestrian traffic visiting the store,” Bishop said.
In addition to expanding traditional curbside pickup, food retailers have turned to alternative options for consumers to receive their online grocery orders, with some stores, including Kroger, converting locations into pickup-only locations and utilizing technology to make pickup faster.
Lowes Foods and other grocers are working with Radius Networks’ FlyBuy pickup curbside solution to alert the retailer when a customer is on the way to pick up an order and when they arrive. Target added fresh and frozen groceries, along with alcohol, to its pickup pilot earlier this year. Meanwhile, Hy-Vee created a two-hour “express” pickup option with a fee.