Loblaw’s long-awaited click-and-collect online ordering program is finally underway.
The supermarket giant launched the service on Friday at a single store in the Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill, with two more stores to add it in coming weeks.
Loblaw’s click-and-collect service includes a website, shop.loblaws.ca, where customers can order groceries, then pick them up at a drive-through (pictured) at the Richmond Hill store, located on High Tech Road.
Shoppers do not need to get out of their cars to retrieve their items. Instead, they press a button at the drive-through to buzz staff inside the store, who then bring the groceries out to the vehicle.
Store employees handle picking the orders.
“We believe it is the ultimate in convenience,” Jeremy Pee, senior vice-president of e-commerce and omni-channels at Loblaw, told the Toronto Star.
Loblaw is charging a three- to five-dollar fee for click and collect, but the company believes many people will be willing to pay for the convenience it offers.
A spokesperson for the retailer pointed out that it typically takes 45 minutes to shop a grocery store.
Loblaw’s new website has 20,000 items, and shoppers can customize their orders. For instance, they can ask for green bananas rather than ripe ones, the Star noted.
Because the service is only available at the one store so far, Pee told Canadian Grocer in an email that Loblaw is promoting the click and collect service “hyper-locally” through the weekly Loblaws flyer and in-store signage and messaging.
“We have click and collect associates in our store, engaging with customers and helping them understand the program, answering any questions they may have. As we roll out more stores, we plan to increase marketing and promotional activity,” he added.
Two more stores in Toronto are being adapted to handle click and collect: the Redway store in the city’s Leaside neighbourhood and a downtown store at 17 Leslie Street.
Loblaw isn’t the first grocer in the country to offer click and collect.
B.C.-based Overwaitea Food Group launched the service at three of its Vancouver area Save-On-Foods recently as part of a broader foray into online grocery.
Click and collect is viewed as a more economical way for grocers to delve into online sales, as it doesn’t require retailers to spend money on the most expensive part of e-commerce–delivering to people’s homes.
Click and collect is especially popular in France where most of the major chains, including Carrefour and Leclerc, offer the service.
U.K. grocers like Tesco are also using click and collect to broaden their e-commerce offer and some American supermarkets have also launched it.
New England grocer, Hannaford Bros., this month said it would expand click and collect. And Walmart has tested pickup services at stores in Denver.