Albertsons’ Jewel-Osco division is testing an automated pickup kiosk for online grocery orders in the Chicago market.
Partnership with Cleveron
The retailer has partnered with Estonia-based Cleveron to pilot the automated and contactless grocery pickup kiosk. Located at a Jewel-Osco store in Chicago, customers can select the “Kiosk PickUp” option when placing their order. Cleveron is one of the leading companies in the automated locker space, having worked with Walmart for several years through its Pickup Tower programme. Last year it piloted a robotic pickup kiosk with Woolworths in Australia.
How it works
When customers arrive at the kiosk, within a two-hour window, they scan a code on their phone and their groceries are robotically delivered to the front of the unit for pickup. The unit features two temperature zones, regular and deep freeze, with the unit capable of holding single customer orders in each of them. The kiosk in Chicago is currently fulfilling orders, and the company plans to install a second unit at a Bay Area Safeway.
Complementing other fulfillment and delivery options
Albertsons offers a range of grocery ecommerce services. Last year it started piloting pickup lockers in the same two operating regions. The introduction of the lockers comes as retailers increasingly focus on providing customers with contactless solutions for ecommerce and other services. They will complement its existing fulfilment models which include store pickup, in-house delivery and partnerships with last-mile delivery companies.
Tapping into channel growth
As with the broader market, the retailer has experienced incredible ecommerce growth since the start of the pandemic, with digital sales up 243% in Q2. We expect the online grocery channel in the US to represent 5% of the US grocery market by 2022, with a value of $82.0bn. This new forecast represents a significant acceleration of growth within the channel. Previously we had forecast that sales through the channel would not reach this value until 2025. This new forecast aligns with retailers’ recent results and comments on the channel which have indicated that demand for online grocery shopping has accelerated by around three years due to the pandemic. Channel growth for 2020 is estimated at 91.5%.
Source: IGD Research
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