- The Fresh Market is refreshing its grocery curbside pickup with added "wow moments" and billing it as the "friendliest curbside experience in America," the grocer announced Tuesday.
- The grocery pickup service comes with the offer of personal shoppers and orders verified by managers, as well as wait times of under five minutes and guaranteed customer satisfaction. The grocer, which launched pickup services last spring, said the number of curbside orders has "increased significantly" since it finished rolling out the new program across all 159 of its stores on Dec. 12.
- As the gourmet supermarkets chain looks to make up for lost time on its pickup offerings — now an expectation across the industry — Senior Vice President of Operations Brian Johnson said that as part of the program, personal grocery shoppers will “write personalized thank you notes to our guests with recipe suggestions" and product recommendations.
Fast, reliable and user-friendly grocery curbside pickup rapidly became a norm last year with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with essentially every major grocery chain and innumerous local grocers offering the service.
The Fresh Market has seen a dramatic rise in interest for click-and-collect since it began rolling out its curbside pickup at select locations in May 2020. As the specialty grocer faces turbulence in its consumer base caused by the inroads made into natural and organic products by traditional chains, it is taking a value-added approach to click-and-collect in an attempt to stand out from the crowd.
The focus on personalization with The Fresh Market’s grocery pickup service diverges from other competitors, which have tended to prioritize ease of ordering, eliminating high service costs and making as many pickup slots available as possible — an effort that encountered hiccups early in the pandemic as demand for services soared. "We have added special touches, such as bringing you a bottle of water on a hot day, or a banana or clementine for your children," Johnson said in the press release.
The grocer says its added touches are paying off: The number of curbside orders has increased, wait times have dropped and fill rates have "substantially improved," according to the announcement.
Walmart, Target, Sam’s Club and Kroger came out on top in a 2020 Ipsos report on grocery click-and-collect services, which had ranked chains on visible signage in pickup areas, easy online account creation, contactless services and online orders being ready on time.
Grocery chains such as Walmart, which drove much of the shift toward expanding click-and-collect back in 2019, have continued to turn to technology as pickup expands, such as by integrating tracking software into their ordering apps to reduce wait times and identify cars waiting to pick up orders.