The first weeks of August were busy for Egil Moller Nielsen, senior VP and head of business and SmartCentres, as the company established partnerships with UP Stores, Fresh City, Real Food Toronto and FedEx.
SmartCentres is real estate giant that operates some 250 outdoor shopping malls across Canada. Tapping into the burgeoning online grocery business, last October, SmartCentres launched a click-and-collect service called Penguin Fresh. Penguin Fresh is an evolution of Penguin Pick-Up, a free servicethat enables customers to send any online order to a SmartCentre location for pick-up at their convenience, even if the item was not purchased from one of its mall tenants.
Fresh City, an online farmers’ market located in Toronto, has partnered with Penguin Pick-Up.
“The benefit for Fresh City is distribution. The concept of Fresh City has always been home delivery, but they could only offer home delivery once a week,” explains Moller Nielsen. With Penguin Pickup, they’re able to provide same-day service. The partnership will make local, organic foods more accessible to residents of the GTA.
Customers order, pay and choose a pick-up location on Fresh City’s website. Pick-up is provided Monday through Friday at one of Penguin Pick-Up’s locations, which span across the greater Toronto area. Fresh City waives delivery fees for customers who pick up their bags.
“We deliver to thousands of homes, offices and apartments weekly,” said Fresh City CEO, Ran Goel. “But many customers live outside our current delivery area or prefer to pick up their order. Penguin Pick-Up’s drive-through service helps us reach more people.”
“We have been operating this together for three weeks, and the orders are growing,” says Moller Nielsen.
RealFoodToronto.com, another online grocery delivery service, is also now offering Penguin Pick-Up.
“Not only has [Penguin Pick-Up] created a vast network of pick up locations convenient for a huge number of people, but they’ve done so with room temperature, refrigerated, and frozen options so for customers who don’t know they’ll be home at a certain time to receive orders from RealFoodToronto.com, Penguin fits the bill,” says co-founder and president of The Healthy Butcher and RealFoodToronto.com, Mario Fiorucci.
As for UPS Stores, Moller Nielsen says, SmartCentres have 250 shopping centres in Canada, but a majority of its locations are in suburban areas.
“Access to food is complicated in urban areas,” says Moller Nielsen “So we were looking to find somebody who had access to urban areas and UPS has 350 stores in Canada. Most of the locations are in urban, mid-town areas, high-density areas that you can’t put a big Walmart complex or SmartCentre.”
The agreement is with UPS stores across Canada, but the partnership is determined store by store.
“We look into what makes sense and roll it out,” says Moller Nielsen. “Right now we have 25 UPS stores that are operating Penguin Pickup not all of those 25 are doing Penguin Fresh.” Some of them do Penguin Fresh such as Yorkville, Mississauga and Burlington. FedEx is also now offering Penguin Pick-Up. “Driving volume and more interest to us,” says Moller Nielsen.