Albertsons announced today that it will pilot temperature-controlled lockers as an added pickup option for its grocery customers.
The lockers, delivered by Bell and Howell, are modular, can be installed either inside or outside and feature dynamic temperature control to accommodate various items placed in them. Customers will see this new “PickUp” option from participating stores when they shop via Albertsons website or mobile app. Customers placing an order will receive a unique code they use to unlock the self-serve locker.
Grocery retailers could soon be facing a double whammy of demand, given the continued use of e-commerce, thanks to the pandemic (and flu season!) and the impeding holidays. During the early days of the pandemic, we saw the strain as retailers couldn’t keep up with demand for grocery delivery. Though those systems seem to have improved, grocers like Walmart and Target have vastly expanded curbside pickup options to provide more flexibility for customers. Adding self-serve lockers gives customers even more options for getting their food while relieving increased demand pressure placed on the grocers.
Delivery lockers like the ones Albertsons is installing are starting to become a trend. The winner of last week’s Smart Kitchen Summit Startup Showcase was Minnow Technologies, which makes IoT-enabled food delivery lockers for places like offices, residential buildings and restaurants.
Amazon pioneered the pickup locker, many of which were at grocery stores, ironically. Though those were for general Amazon packages, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Amazon adding similar temperature-controlled pickup lockers at its new chain of Amazon Fresh and Go Grocery stores.
The first Albertsons PickUp lockers will be installed at select Jewel-Osco locations in Chicago, with more coming to San Francisco Bay Area Safeways later this year.