Lowes Foods brings grocery pickup lockers to office buildings

Diving letter:

  • Lowes Foods is partnering with retail automation company Bell and Howell to provide a grocery collection service in office buildings in North and South Carolina with unattended collection lockers, according to a press release on Wednesday.
  • The companies have set up the program’s first lockers outside of Bell and Howell’s headquarters in Durham, North Carolina, and Lowes is currently delivering orders to the temperature-controlled units three times a week.
  • Lowes’ initiative is another example of grocers offering outside-of-home and business fulfillment as they are looking to get more consumers back to their office work.

Dive Insight:

Lowes’ announcement to offer pick-up service where people work is the latest in a series of initiatives by grocery retailers to push the boundaries of their online grocery store.

The North Carolina supermarket chain uses QuickCollect GL lockers supplied by Bell and Howell’s QuickCollect Solutions Division to provide service in office buildings. The remotely configurable units, which Bell and Howell said are able to protect food in “the harshest outdoor climates,” have multiple temperature zones that can keep food between -10 degrees and 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

Customers are notified by SMS or e-mail when their order is ready for retrieval and receive access to the locker with their goods with a scannable code.

Lowes and Bell and Howell did not specify when they would install lockers in locations other than the Bell and Howell building as part of the program. Chad Petersen, vice president of e-commerce at Lowes, said the 80-store chain is still working to identify potential locations for the units in the Research Triangle area of ​​North Carolina, which includes Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, The Triangle Business Journal reports.

Optional labeling

Retrieved from Bell and Howell on June 10, 2021

The new offering, part of Lowes’ online To Go service, signals confidence that more consumers are returning to office buildings after more than a year of widespread home work guidelines.

It is also the latest move among retailers offering pickup and delivery services away from the traditional service points at home and in stores. For example, Kroger is testing pickup locations in small towns across Ohio while Hy-Vee has set up collection lockers at external locations such as hospitals.

These tests rely on the convenience of shoppers to pick up their purchases before they head home for the day, but similar initiatives have failed in the past, including Peapod’s installation of collection lockers at transit stations.

Some grocery stores like Albertsons and Stop & Shop have recently put lockers and automated kiosks in their stores. Meanwhile, retailers like Amazon and Walmart are testing new innovations for home delivery. Amazon recently expanded its in-garage service to 5,000 locations while Walmart is testing home delivery as well as delivery to temperature-controlled boxes outside of consumers’ homes.

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