- Giant Eagle will open its second curbside pickup and delivery-only store in the Cleveland suburb of Garfield Heights, Ohio, Cleveland.com reported. The company's first pickup-only store, located in Akron, opened last week and has doubled online order capacity for the city along with nearby Canton, a Giant Eagle spokesman told the news site.
- The Garfield Heights location will stop allowing customers into the store starting April 18 so employees can fulfill e-commerce orders. Customers can start reserving slots for online orders on April 17.
- The retailer says it is hiring more shoppers to increase time slots availability across the chain, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Giant Eagle has been increasing ordering slots every week by 1,000, a spokeswoman told the paper. The company has increased delivery and pickup capabilities by 25% in Pittsburgh.
Like Kroger and a handful of independent grocers, Giant Eagle is following a dark store strategy that helps it maintain social distancing and open up online fulfillment at a time when shoppers are rushing online.
So far, Giant Eagle has switched off customer traffic to stores in major markets where it operates multiple locations, allowing it to fill more e-grocery orders and still operate nearby stores that customers can visit.
At Giant Eagle's dark store in Akron, employees with handheld scanners print out orders in the cheese department, fill up carts with products and take the groceries to the bagging station. Employees practice social distancing and use hand sanitizer available from stations placed around the store. When a customer arrives at the store to pick up their order, an employee checks the order sheet in the cart that tells them if there are items stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
Curbside pickup customers are instructed to stay in their cars. For delivery, drivers knock on the door and then step away.
Giant Eagle spokesman Dan Donovan told Cleveland.com that while pickup slots may be filled, the retailer has lots of capacity left for delivery. Giant Eagle’s pickup service is free for orders of $35 and over. Next-day delivery on orders costs about $6 while same-day delivery costs about $10.
To accommodate this increase in online ordering and pickup, Donovan said that expansion of the store concept to other markets like Western Pennsylvania and Columbus, Ohio, is possible. But he could not say how many stores will be converted or if the store concept would be permanent.
Just a week before Giant Eagle launched its first pickup and delivery-only store, Kroger opened a pickup-only store in Cincinnati. Kroger told Grocery Dive this is a single-store pilot but it will decide at a later date whether to keep the concept or convert it back to a normal store.