GPS Enhances Curbside Pickup

Satellite technology could help make online ordering and store pickup even more convenient.

June 11, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—United Supermarkets, the Albertsons brand that operates stores in New Mexico and Texas, has enhanced its grocery pickup service with the addition of satellite technology that lets customers share their location via smartphone as they drive to the store to pick up an order, reports. The GPS-based system helps store employees prioritize order preparation based on shoppers’ schedules and allows them to meet customers’ vehicles as they pull into the parking lot.

Provided by Radius Networks, the system also is being used by SpartanNash, a 155-store chain of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the 88 Lowes Food stores with headquarters in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. They’re just some of the food retailers now asking customers to share their location to help store employees better manage fulfillment operations. Walmart and Target have been using location-based technology for a while, which has paved the way for others to follow suit.

The recent pandemic has given retailers challenges, ranging from juggling pickup schedules to managing widespread out-of-stocks. One way to make e-commerce and pickup more convenient is to cut the time required to fulfill orders and quickly get groceries into the hands of buyers.

Last year, SpartanNash reported in 2019 that using the Radius system as part of its pickup operations reduced wait times from eight minutes to almost zero. In other efforts to boost the speed of grocery pickup, some operators have dedicated stores to e-commerce fulfillment, while others, such as Hy-Vee and Walmart, have added express delivery services that promise extra-fast service for an extra cost.