Jewel-Osco Tests Auto Pickup Kiosk

Customers can order online and access their groceries via the kiosk located in the store parking lot.

January 20, 2021

CHICAGO—As online grocery shopping continues to accelerate, supermarkets are testing ways to get those orders to consumers quicker and contact-free. One of those, Jewel-Osco, is piloting an automated pickup kiosk for online grocery orders, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Customers place their online order, then head to the store’s parking lot within a two-hour window to grab their order from the kiosk. Cleveron designed the kiosk, which has a refrigerator and deep-freeze area for cold and frozen items.

When customers arrive at the kiosk, they scan a code on their phone, and their groceries are robotically delivered to the front of the unit for pickup. Albertsons, owner of Jewel-Osco, has plans for a second kiosk at a San Francisco Safeway.

“We are supercharging our digital and omnichannel offerings to serve customers however they want, whenever they want,” said Chris Rupp, executive vice president and chief customer and digital officer at Albertsons.

The kiosk joins a growing lineup of customer-centric services offered by the company to provide contactless fulfillment. In October, Albertsons Cos. installed PickUp lockers at several Jewel-Osco stores. The company already offers delivery and Drive Up & Go options through its websites and apps, and it has relationships with third-party operators to provide delivery options in as fast as two hours. Digital sales at its stores jumped 225% during the third quarter ended December 5, compared with the same period in 2019.

Customers continue to clamor for delivery options when it comes to groceries. Walmart recently started testing its HomeValet smart cooler home delivery option.

NACS Research last year published its landmark “Last Mile Fulfillment in Convenience Retail” study. To learn more, read “Covering the Last Mile” in the January 2021 issue of the NACS Magazine.