- H-E-B and Whole Foods have the fastest order pickup services among grocers, according to a new benchmark study from mobile commerce platform Rakuten Ready.
- The study used secret shoppers to evaluate "order for pickup" services and wait times among 25 restaurant, retail and grocery brands in the U.S. Grocers analyzed in the survey were Walmart, Kroger, Whole Foods, Meijer, H-E-B, Raley’s, Albertsons and Hy-Vee.
- The study found the average wait time for in-store grocery pickup is 4 minutes, 3 seconds, with 29% of all orders ready in less than two minutes and 79% of all orders ready in less than four minutes. For curbside pickup, the average wait time was 5 minutes, 21 seconds, with only 7% of orders ready in less than two minutes and 66% of orders ready in less than six minutes.
Compared to the quick-service restaurant (QSR) and retail industries, grocery posted the slowest wait times for order pickup. QSRs led the pack at an average wait time of 2 minutes, 29 seconds and retail at 3 minutes, 34 seconds.
Whole Foods earned top marks for both curbside and in-store pickup with average wait times of 3 minutes, 4 seconds and 4 minutes, 3 seconds respectively. Last year, Whole Foods announced curbside pickup at select locations for online grocery orders for Amazon Prime members and has continued to expand the service since then. Customers notify Whole Foods that they are on their way through the app. The store also uses designated parking spaces.
H-E-B also excelled among competitors for curbside pickup, according to Rakuten's findings, with an average wait time of 4 minutes, 5 seconds. The study found 84% of H-E-B orders are ready within six minutes, while 16% are delivered within two minutes. Key features that streamline the retailer's operations include an app to communicate with customers, designated priority parking spots, prominent signage and well-trained employees, Rakuten said.
Despite Walmart’s focus on expanding grocery pickup services to more stores, it had one of the slowest average wait times for curbside pickup at 7 minutes, 3 seconds. On average, however, Walmart’s average grocery pickup baskets are larger ($124.86) than shoppers’ average in-store baskets ($49.70), according to data from market intelligence firm Numerator. The delayed response time could be due to the time required to pick and pack larger orders.
Walmart shoppers also show a preference for avoiding in-store grocery shopping, Numerator found, so the average seven-minute wait time may be preferable to heading in-store. The average shoppers spends 41 minutes in the grocery store and an average of 1.5 trips per week, according to Time Use Institute data cited by Credit Donkey.
Kroger and Raley’s posted high wait times in the Rakuten study, with Kroger averaging 6 minutes, 29 seconds and Raley's at 6 minutes, 17 seconds. Kroger received high marks for customer satisfaction despite the long wait times, while Raley’s customer satisfaction ranked low.
The grocery pickup industry will capture an estimated 25% of consumers by 2020, according to research from financial firm Cowen, which will grow to a $35 billion dollar channel in the same time frame.