The Midwestern grocery chain Meijer has aggressively rolled out its store-to-door service since launching in Detroit in September 2016. Since then, the service has made more than 250,000 deliveries, combining personalized shopping with fresh groceries and a wide selection of daily essentials available 24 hours a day.
The greater Chicagoland launch on July 13 will cover more than 4,500 square miles and include more than 200 zip codes in Illinois and Indiana along Lake Michigan’s southern shore, adding a reach of 2.5 million more households.
"Our goal is to provide store-to-door convenience to as many of our customers as possible," said Art Sebastian, Vice President of Digital Shopping for Meijer.
The rise of online groceries
While still accounting for a tiny fraction of the market compared to brick-and-mortar sales, online grocery orders have been going up. A study by online grocery consultancy firm Unata projected that this year, one in three shoppers will buy some groceries online.
In fact, Amazon’s US grocery sales showed a surge of 30% to $350m in Q1 online sales, according to data by One Click Retail. Retailers are racing to create innovative and convenient ways to win their share of the grocery retail space, especially now that the online giant Amazon has plunged deeper into grocery with its acquisition of Whole Foods last month.
The Shipt App
For its grocery delivery service, Meijer partners with Shipt, a platform with a smartphone as well as desktop and tablet site. Through it, users are able to access more than 55,000 items available at Meijer stores, note any preferences, choose a one-hour delivery window and pay for their order.
Everything from fresh produce to meat and dairy, from dried goods to cleaning supplies, can all be delivered to a consumer’s door as soon as one hour or any other time the app user would like to set. Shoppers are crowdsourced from the public, the same model used by Lyft or Airbnb. Shipt plans to hire 10,000 people across the six-state expansion with Meijer this year.
Shipt memberships are available for an annual fee of $99 and members have access to free delivery on all orders over $35. For orders under $35, there is a $7 delivery fee. To compare, a membership to Amazon Prime is also $99 a year and includes free two-day shipping for many items, as well as access to Amazon’s universe of entertainment and other tailored services.
"We believe that the personalized service that Shipt offers, coupled with the freshness and wide selection our customers love about Meijer, is the perfect meld of online shopping and our brick and mortar locations,” Sebastian added.
“Whether you're too busy or just have difficulty getting around a store, the ability to shop digitally and have it delivered when its most convenient provides a life-changing alternative to the way you've always shopped for our groceries."