In the increasingly competitive game of grocery delivery, Metro is making a move on the Greater Toronto Area.
The country’s third largest grocery chain confirmed Wednesday it had introduced its online grocery shopping service to Ontario. The retailer first launched online shopping in Montreal in October 2016, and later expanded the service to include both the Greater Montreal Area and Quebec City.
“We are extremely happy to offer online grocery shopping to our customers in the GTA,” said Joe Fusco, senior vice-president, Metro in a release. “Metro’s online grocery shopping will give customers the opportunity to shop for their favourite products, without having to leave their home.”
Orders placed online at Metro.ca are picked and packed by Metro employees, which the grocer promises are “trained to select the freshest in-store products, so that customers feel as though they’ve picked them themselves.” Orders placed before 1 p.m. can be delivered that day. The cost for delivery is $11.99.
Metro is also touting special “Tri-Zone” delivery trucks that include ambient, refrigerated and frozen sections to ensure all food is preserved and kept fresh.
The same online ordering platform offers customers the choice to pick up their orders, but only from one of two “hub” stores serving the GTA: one in Burlington and another on St. Clair Avenue West in mid-town Toronto. “The main goal is to offer Metro customers an exceptional experience and ensure the system is optimized before exploring expansion,” said a Metro spokesperson.
Online grocery shopping offerings have evolved quickly in the past couple of years. Loblaw partnered with Instacart for delivery while also emphasizing its click-and-collect offering PC Express. Meanwhile, Sobeys is working with U.K. automated grocery leaders Ocado to build massive, robot enabled fulfillment centres to supply its delivery service.
At the end of 2017, Metro CEO Eric La Fleche made it clear Metro would focus on building up its own delivery service. “Clearly there is a customer preference for home delivery,” he said at the time. “Delivery economics are a challenge, but we are making progress.” In 2018 it introduced its expanded delivery service in Montreal with plans to launch in Ontario within a year.
“We’re putting a lot of dollars behind this initiative–from building the platform, to investing in trucks and dedicated in-store pickers. There’s a lot of energy and investment going to the dedicated e-commerce service,” said Gino Plevano, vice-president, digital strategy and online shopping with Metro in Montreal at the time of the Montreal expansion.