Grocers Ring in the New Year With New Digital Transformations

Grocers Ring in Year With Digital Transformations

Not even a month into 2023, grocers are already putting last year behind them.

This week in grocery, supermarkets transform to meet the rise in eCommerce demand, Stop & Shop tests a system to drive digital revenue from would-be food waste, and grocers step up their health food efforts.

Addie’s, the self-proclaimed “first drive-up grocer” on the East Coast, announced in a Thursday (Jan. 26) news release the close of a $10.1 million seed funding round to power its expansion. The curbside-pickup-only retailer uses its stores as fulfillment centers, closed to customers, in which eCommerce orders are fulfilled by store associates who bring them out to shoppers’ cars in the parking lot.

Also Thursday, the company opened its first store in Norwood, Massachusetts, with plans for “rapid expansion,” per the release.

“With our seed funding, we’ve built an end-to-end experience to serve people in and around Norwood in a way that can be replicated in suburbs nationwide,” Addie’s CEO and Co-founder Jim McQuade said in the release. “We look forward to quickly expanding, offering busy families across the country drive-up grocery convenience without compromise.”

The news follows on the heels of the opening of a curbside-only grocer in Oklahoma just a couple weeks earlier. JackBe, a retailer that describes itself as a “curbside drive-thru grocer,” opened in Oklahoma City this month.

It is not only the curbside channel that grocers are looking to in order to transform the role of the store. Buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS) also plays a part.

In October, British food delivery company Deliveroo opened a physical grocery store in Central London in partnership with Morrisons, the United Kingdom’s fourth-largest grocer, offering pickup for online orders. The store features digital kiosks to place orders to be brought to customers by in-store pickers, and purchases can also be made via the Deliveroo app for order-ahead pickup or delivery.

Stop & Shop Expands eCommerce Trial to Drive Revenue From Would-Be Waste

Ahold Delhaize-owned supermarket chain Stop & Shop, which has more than 400 stores across the Northeastern United States, is expanding its test of digital marketplace Flashfood to reach 34 stores in Massachusetts. The app enables grocers to sell food that is soon to expire or that is nearly past its prime at discounted rates.

In addition to enabling grocers to make sales with items that may otherwise have ended up in the trash, it also creates an opportunity to engage price-sensitive consumers amid inflation with lower-cost offerings.

“We’re proud of this recent expansion of Flashfood to our Massachusetts customers and hope that shopping the Flashfood marketplace at Stop & Shop will help offer them sustainable shopping options with ways to also save significantly on groceries,” Holland Ricker, Stop & Shop’s regional vice president of operations, said in a statement.

The grocer first began testing the option at four stores in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 2021, expanding to four stores in Rhode Island at the start of 2022.

Food Lion Joins Grocers Looking to Stand Apart With Healthcare Offerings

As grocers look to take on Walmart by diversifying into additional non-food categories, another Ahold Delhaize USA chain, Food Lion, which has more than 1,100 East Coast stores, joins those leveraging healthcare offerings to deepen relationships with customers.

The grocer announced in a Thursday press release that it is partnering with healthcare provider Novant Health, which has 640 locations across four states, to pilot a “food pharmacy” program, selling 3,000 boxes of foods intended to improve participants’ health over two years.

“This partnership with Novant Health is an opportunity to help our neighbors eat healthier by using food as medicine,” Matt Yates, the grocer’s vice president of brand strategy, said in the release. “Through the food pharmacy program, we are providing our neighbors with nutritious food that helps them manage chronic illnesses and helps them thrive, setting them up for success.”