- Wegmans has begun delivering groceries to customers in Manhattan four months after opening its first New York City store in neighboring Brooklyn, according to a company release.
- Home delivery service, provided through e-commerce partner Instacart, will take longer than it does from other stores due to extended drive times, the grocer said. The company estimates most orders will be delivered between two and five hours after being placed. Delivery starts at $3.99 for orders over $35, and is free for Instacart Express members.
- “[E-commerce] represents a growing percentage of our sales, and with larger delivery radiuses, we’re able to reach more customers in New York, and other markets where traffic and transportation prohibit customers from coming to us,” Erica Tickle, Wegmans director of e-commerce, said in a statement.
For Manhattan Wegmans customers who don’t feel like hopping on the F train or braving one of the cross-borough bridges, now there’s another option. Orders may take as long as five hours to get to shoppers’ homes, but that shouldn’t deter the chain’s many devotees who live among Manhattan's 43 zip codes.
For Wegmans, expanding online availability to more than one million shoppers will help hone its e-commerce game and allow to better test demand in what’s arguably the country’s most fierce online grocery market.
Wegmans opened to considerable fanfare in Brooklyn last October. The 75,000-square-foot store features a full assortment of dry and fresh groceries, frozen items and the chain's famous meal stops, including a burger bar and made-to-order pizza station.
However, the store is a bit of a schlep for Manhattan shoppers, who can much more easily turn to a local Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or — bankruptcy troubles aside — Fairway Market. These retailers along with e-grocers FreshDirect and Peapod have loyal followings and recently chased Jet.com's grocery service out of the city.
Wegmans is known primarily for its store experience, where product demos, overflowing displays and helpful staffers have won over customers for years. Online, Wegmans is less remarkable as one among many grocers using a third-party fulfillment service. It will have to stand out on the quality of its products and loyalty to its brand.
The chain has been testing prepared food delivery. Expanding that to its Brooklyn store would give shoppers another reason to order online. Still, the chain will be battling with Manhattan’s hundreds of sandwich shops, pizza joints and other locations that offer quick home delivery.
Wegmans gets a lot of praise for being one of the best grocery chains in America. But in New York, it faces arguably the toughest test yet in its ongoing expansion. It’s going to have to roll up its sleeves, work hard and heavily promote its New York City store in order to win over shoppers.