Grocery Roundup: NYC’s eGrocery Market Grows More Crowded; ‘Just Walk Out’ Comes to London

grocery delivery

The on-demand grocery delivery market in New York City continues to grow more competitive. Boxed, the New York City-based online wholesale retailer, announced Monday (Nov. 29) its acquisition of MaxDelivery, another New York-based grocery eTailer that provides one hour grocery deliveries. The deal is expected to close later this month.

“This acquisition of MaxDelivery will mark our entry point into the rapidly growing fast-grocery delivery space, in addition to broadening our capabilities in micro dark-store fulfillment and fresh supply chain,” Chieh Huang, co-founder and CEO of Boxed, said in a statement. “In the months after closing, we plan to implement MaxDelivery’s model into several additional regions as we generate value for the entire Boxed ecosystem. We believe that MaxDelivery will also benefit from the use of Boxed software technology as it becomes a client of our Software business.”

In June, Boxed announced that it was going public in a merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Seven Oaks Acquisition Corp. in a deal that valued the combined company at around $900 million.

See also: Amid Top Line Growth, Boxed SPAC Deal Hints At Online Grocers’ Profit Challenge

According to data from PYMNTS’ study What Consumers Expect From Their Grocery Shopping Experiences, created in collaboration with ACI Worldwide, which featured a census-balanced survey of more than 2,300 U.S. adults, 34% of grocery shoppers now buy online, and 18% of consumers prefer these eCommerce options to in-store shopping. Additionally, the study found that 23% of consumers order groceries online for delivery, and 11% use aggregators that deliver the products the same day.

You may also like: Digital Features Can Help Grocers Win Over 43 Percent Of Shoppers

Sainsbury’s Becomes First Retailer to Enable White-Label ‘Just Walk Out’ Checkout Through Own-Brand App

Weeks after insider sources first revealed that United Kingdom grocer Sainsbury’s would be bringing Amazon’s white-label frictionless checkout solution to London, the store, called SmartShop Pick & Go, opened its doors on Monday. The store utilizes the eCommerce giant’s Just Walk Out technology to allow shoppers to check out without waiting for a cashier at a register or for a self-service kiosk.

Read more: London Opens First Market Outside of US To Use Amazon’s Cashierless Tech

With the store, Sainsbury’s, the second largest grocery chain in the country, allows consumers to check in with a QR code in the grocer’s app at a scanner at the store’s entrance, after which point any items that they pick up and walk out with will be automatically charged to their account.

“Integrating Sainsbury’s SmartShop app into Amazon’s Just Walk Out Shopping experience is new — it’s the first time we’ve enabled a business customer to use their own app to manage store entry, exit, receipts, and payments for shoppers,” Dilip Kumar, vice president of Physical Retail and Technology at Amazon, wrote in a blog post. “The integration enables Sainsbury’s to leverage existing systems, and their shoppers are able to use the Sainsbury’s app they’re already accustomed to.” 

Research from PYMNTS’ report Today’s Self-Service Shopping Journey: The New Retail Expectation, created in collaboration with Toshiba, finds that about a third of consumers had used self-service options for their most recent grocery purchase. Frictionless checkout technology maximizes the benefits that consumers look for in self-service options, with 68% of grocery self-service users reporting that they are motivated by a desire for speedy purchasing and 51% by a wish to avoid waiting in line.

Related: Consumers Want Self-Service Checkout Options But Rarely Get to Use Them

Farmstead Becomes First Pure-Play eGrocer to Accept EBT/SNAP

Online grocery is becoming more accessible to Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients. Major grocers including Walmart, Amazon-owned brands, Ahold Delhaize-owned brands and more have, in recent years, been integrating SNAP payments into their digital platforms, and in April, Instacart announced that it was expanding its SNAP payment options to include 4,000 stores.

Now, eGrocer Farmstead announced Tuesday (Nov. 30) that it is partnering with third-party processor and pin provider Forage to become the first digital-only grocer to accept EBT/SNAP payments. The integration is expected to go live in the second quarter of 2022. Additionally, the grocer will offer these capabilities to users of its white-label Grocery OS ecommerce software.

“Our entire business is based on the premise that grocery delivery should be for the masses, and that it’s possible to have fresh, high-quality groceries delivered to your front door at the same prices you’d pay at the store, with no additional fees,” Pradeep Elankumaran, co-founder and CEO of Farmstead, said in a statement. “Accepting EBT at Farmstead, and integrating EBT into Grocery OS, marks a big milestone for us, and we’re proud to be working with Forage to make this a reality.”

Giant Eagle Expands Non-Food Offering With Self-Service Hearing Checks

Today’s leading supermarkets are taking advantage of their foot traffic, drawing in customers far more frequently than other retailers, to deepen their relationships with customers by offering more products and services outside the food and beverage categories. On Wednesday (Dec. 1), Giant Eagle announced that it was partnering with InnerScope Hearing Technologies to offer self-service hearing checks, beginning at six of the grocer’s locations.

“We are excited about bringing InnerScope’s Hearing Screening Kiosks and hearing health-related products into Giant Eagle’s pharmacies,” Jim Tsipakis, executive vice president of pharmacy at Giant Eagle, said in a statement. “We want to give our guests the best tools necessary to live a healthy lifestyle.”

PYMNTS research finds that brands and retailers that can engage with consumers across more pillars of the connected economy — how consumers work, pay and are paid, shop, eat, bank, travel, connect with others, have fun, stay well and live — have the opportunity to build loyalty and drive spending far more than those that remain limited to one or two categories.

Read also: How Consumers Live In The Connected Economy