Metro has updated its online grocery service in Quebec to include same-day pick-up and delivery of orders placed before 1 p.m. The company is also planning to introduce the service in Ontario within the next year.
The revamped service enables people placing an order before 1 p.m. to pick-up their groceries in-store beginning at 4 p.m., or request delivery as early as 6 p.m. Metro has also extended the delivery window by two hours, to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 8 p.m. on weekends.
Gino Plevano, vice-president, digital strategy and online shopping with Metro in Montreal, says the enhancements are in response to growing customer demand for convenience and speed in the grocery sector.
“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,” says Plevano.
Metro piloted online shopping in three Quebec stores in 2016, and has since expanded the service to include seven “hub” stores in the Greater Montreal Area, as well as Quebec City and Gatineau. The stores reach a combined 60% of the province’s population, he says.
Online items are priced the same as they are in-store, and Metro is charging a $4 fee to assemble the order plus $6 for delivery. Plevano says the “vast majority” of customers are opting for delivery.
While he won’t divulge the average basket size for Metro’s online orders, Plevano says many shoppers are doing a full grocery shop. Customers also tend to spend more online than they do in-store, he says.
Plevano says “99%” of the SKUs available in Metro’s 200 Quebec stores are available online, with the exception of prepared foods and magazines.
The company continues to invest heavily in its e-commerce capabilities, including adding to its fleet of trucks employing “Tri-Zones” technology that allows food to be stored in separate ambient, refrigerated and frozen compartments.
Metro also employs dedicated teams of 10 to 15 pickers at each of the seven stores, and is working to “industrialize” the picking process by fulfilling six orders at a time and equipping pickers with storage boxes and hand-held price scanners to tally orders as they walk the aisles. Plevano won’t say how long it typically takes pickers to assemble an order, saying only that it is less time than a customer would spend doing an in-store shop.
The user base for Metro’s online shopping ranges from families to older Canadians and millennials. “What’s common to all these customers is they want to save time, and they’re willing to pay a fee for that convenience,” says Plevano.