- Online grocer FreshDirect has added two-hour on-demand delivery in Brooklyn, Manhattan and parts of Queens, according to a company announcement. Customers can access the FreshDirect Express option in the grocer’s app and on its website.
- FreshDirect is also expanding pickup service to high-demand areas like Philadelphia, the Hamptons and Washington, D.C. The company currently offers pickup service from its Bronx headquarters and in Hackensack, New Jersey.
- The service allows people to shop from a curated selection of the company’s products, including items like wild Alaskan salmon, local grass-fed steak, fruits and vegetables from local farms and a selection of beer, wine and spirits. The company has seen a 50% increase in new shoppers converting to loyal customers since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with numbers continuing to rise, CEO David McInerney said in the release.
Like other online grocery providers, FreshDirect struggled to provide enough delivery windows to meet demand as fears of COVID-19 picked up. During the virus's peak in and around New York City in late March and April, customers scrambled for a coveted delivery spot each week as FreshDirect labored to add capacity.
Now, the company has put several measures in place to bring delivery times back to normal, including opening up time slots, adding employees and bringing in new products from restaurant distributors and other non-traditional suppliers.
Its express delivery offers shoppers a limited assortment of products that FreshDirect is able to pack and ship quickly. While the company's same-day or next-day services offer three-hour windows for an order to arrive, the express option gives shoppers a 60-minute window and is processed on demand. FreshDirect did not indicate any additional fees associated with its express service, though its standard delivery fees range from $5.99 to as high as $15.99 for the Hamptons during the summer.
“This is truly a time of unprecedented demand, and also of discovery," FreshDirect CEO David McInerney said in a statement. "To address this shift, we have been laser-focused on making the FreshDirect model faster, easier and safer for all.
FreshDirect, which long specialized in next-day service, has gradually expanded its same-day delivery options. In 2016, it launched FoodKick, its first service that let shoppers get grocery and alcohol delivered within hours of ordering. FreshDirect expanded same-day service through its main service last year, and now it's phasing out the FoodKick name and directing shoppers to the FreshDirect site.
"FoodKick has moved in with FreshDirect," the former sites main page reads along with a link to FreshDirect's webpage and new Express service.
Other grocers have launched express delivery services recently. Hy-Vee added two-hour express pickup in May with a $9.95 fee attached, and Walmart offers two-hour express delivery with a $10 fee on top of the standard $9.85 delivery charge. Amazon Prime offers "ultrafast" grocery delivery, while H-E-B has added two-hour express delivery for grocery essentials.