Despite the still-existing demand for customers to visit brick-and-mortar stores to see and touch the goods, especially fresh food items, before buying, Jewel-Osco has decided to give in to the demand of delivery service, The Chicago Tribune reports. This means Chicago residents now have the option to order grocery items online from the area’s largest grocery retailer and have them delivered to their door.
Jewel-Osco told the Tribune that it has officially commenced its e-commerce department. As Chicago’s largest grocery chain, Jewel Osco has at its disposal a total of 11 stores. Delivery fees range from 95 cents to as much as $9.95 “depending on the size of the order, time of day and window of time selected.”
Jewel-Osco is giving customers the choice of delivery from Instacart or utilizing its own fulfillment and delivery service.
Jewel-Osco’s president, Doug Cygan, confirmed the move. “We felt it was important to have our own people doing it.”
The company has hired 100 employees to man the e-commerce department. To maintain the freshness of the food items in transit, Jewel-Osco bought 60 trucks “fitted with compartments of varying temperatures” to get their temperature-sensitive products shipped to customers.
The Food Marketing Institute forecast growth in the online grocery shopping sector by as much as 20% by 2025. The institute’s senior vice president for industry relations, Mark Baum, even emphasized that the forecast was made before the Whole Foods acquisition by Amazon. “Nobody has a crystal ball, but I think that $100 billion could end up being conservative.”
Jewel-Osco competitors, Mariano and Meijer, offer online shopping services, but both companies opted to outsource the pick-up and delivery services to ClickList (for Mariano’s, among other third-party service providers) and Shipt (for Meijer Inc.) respectively.
The retailer is offering the option to have items delivered within an hour for a “slightly higher fee,” according to Jewel-Osco’s vice president of marketing and merchandising Anthony Suggs. For items ordered before noon time, the same day delivery feature is available for online consumers to take.
The minimum order is $49 with the delivery fee chiming in between $1 to $3. The online delivery service is set to launch this month.
According to Cygan, Jewel-Osco’s precursor company, The Jewel Tea Co., delivered tea in the early 1900’s. As of 2017, the company has 187 outlets. The company also confirmed 6 planned new stores in the pipeline. Actual locations have yet to be determined.
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