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Supermarkets Rethink Space Usage As Online Ordering And Pickup Grows

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Grocery stores are revamping their physical footprints to offer online pickup points and home delivery options as the popularity of online grocery shopping grows among consumers. 

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Grocery stores are changing to compete with Amazon.

The thinking is that if stores don't accommodate online shoppers with delivery or convenient pickup points, in store and curbside, someone else will — like e-commerce giant Amazon.

Thus major food retailers such as Walmart and The Kroger Co. are spending heavily to acquire digital-ordering technologies, implement home-delivery systems and build store pickup points for online orders, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Stores are reserving parking spaces for customers picking up online orders to make the process quicker. There are also designated checkout lines for grocery-delivery services like Instacart, and separate entrances for delivery pickups. (Instacart has inked deals with pre-Amazon Whole Foods and Aldi, among others.)

There hasn’t been anything this sweeping operationally for grocery stores since the introduction of bar codes, Bill Bishop, co-founder of consulting firm Brick Meets Click, tells the WSJ.

Grocers have good reason to jump on the online shopping bandwagon. E-commerce is the fastest-growing grocery-shopping channel in 2017, according to Inmar Analytics, with sales up 27% compared with the previous year. At standard grocery stores, sales were up 1.3% for the year.

In September, Walmart — the largest grocer in the country — proposed a grocery pickup-only store for a former Dominick’s supermarket site in the north Chicago suburb of Lincolnwood. A Walmart representative told Supermarket News that the location would be the retailer's largest pickup-only site, at more that 41K SF, most of which would be for inventory. The location also would be Walmart’s first drive-up grocery facility in Illinois.  Customers would order groceries using Walmart's website, or a grocery app, and select a pickup time. The location would have 24 pickup stalls to handle nearly 2,000 pickups each day.