- Regional grocery chain Giant Eagle has launched new location tracking technology to optimize contactless curbside pickup, the company announced in a press release on Wednesday.
- Radius Networks’ FlyBuy Pickup location platform, integrated into the Giant Eagle app, uses proprietary location tracking technology to send stores live alerts on customers’ estimated arrival times and their location in the store parking lot, enabling Giant Eagle employees to prioritize order fulfillment and minimize wait times.
- The program launched at all Giant Eagle stores where curbside pickup is available.
Like the rest of the grocery industry, Giant Eagle’s e-commerce orders have grown exponentially since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, stimulating necessary adaptations to changed point-of-sale operations. Along with its procurement of Radius Networks' location-based technology, the grocer also transitioned three of its physical store locations to curbside pickup centers focused on servicing online orders. One of its ‘dark stores’, located in Akron, Ohio, enabled the grocer’s online order capacity to double in the city.
Along with Giant Eagle, regional grocers Lowes Foods and SpartanNash have also adopted Radius Networks' geofencing technology to speed up curbside fulfillment for shoppers.
“Knowing our guests’ ETA and receiving live location updates and arrival alerts has transformed our curbside program for both our Team Members working hard in the store fulfilling orders, and for our guests who want a speedy pickup experience,” Valery Ciarimboli, Giant Eagle’s vice president of e-commerce operations, said in the company’s announcement.
Retail research has identified speed and safety as consumers’ top priorities when ordering for grocery pickup and that the majority of customers prefer a contactless experience.
For grocers and customers alike, curbside pickup provides a happy medium between delivery services, which can be costly, logistically challenging and slower, and traditional in-store shopping during the coronavirus pandemic. By alerting the retailer when customers are approaching the store, employees can pack their groceries into their cars more efficiently and with minimal contact with the customer. According to market intelligence firm Numerator, grocery pickup baskets at Walmart were significantly larger than those of in-store shoppers during Febraury 2018 to February 2019.
With all of the major grocers offering some form of click-and-collect service, location tracking technology that speeds up pickup and minimizes face-to-face contact can offer a competitive advantage. Walmart, a leader in the space, offers grocery pickup at around 3,300 locations and its grocery pickup app in April surpassed Amazon in record downloads. Both H-E-B and Whole Foods, which last year boasted the fastest grocery pickup times, use app technology to enable customers to send alerts when they are approaching the store.
By taking advantage of pickup optimization technology, regional chains and independent grocers can avoid consumers abandoning their store loyalty for a more seamless click-and-collect experience elsewhere.