Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tesco trials drive-thru store

Tesco this week launches the country’s first-ever drive-thru supermarket to help busy customers who want their shop picked and packed but who don’t have the time to wait at home for delivery.

Run by the Tesco dotcom team – who deliver more shopping to more homes than any other grocery retailer in Europe – the service means customers can pick up their shop at a supermarket without having to leave their cars.

‘This will be especially popular with busy mums who have the school run and children’s activities to manage,’ explained Laura Wade-Gery, CEO of Tesco dotcom and Tesco Direct. ‘It also offers a solution to parents who want to avoid the challenge of shopping in a busy store with children in tow but can’t afford the time to stay in for the shop to arrive to their door.

‘We also expect it to help young professionals who want the convenience of a pre-picked and packed shop but who cannot commit to waiting at home for delivery. They can collect their shop on their way home from work or at any other time that suits them during our extensive collection hours.’

The trial launches at Tesco’s Baldock Extra store, Hertfordshire and if it is successful may be rolled out to additional areas. Customers order their shopping as usual on the Tesco.com website, choosing the ‘Click and Collect’ option and booking a two-hour collection slot. They can collect anytime inside this two-hour window.

Customers drive up to a reserved area in the car park, which will be signposted, and pull into a covered space to show a member of staff their shopping reference details. Staff come to the customer’s car window so there is no need to get out, and the shopping is then packed into the boot. Any substitutions will be flagged up as with any home delivery – and the same policies and price guarantees apply, so if a substitution with a more expensive item is offered, the original, lower price will be charged. A flat £2 picking and packing charge will apply instead of the sliding scale of home delivery charges, which begin at £3. As with home delivery dotcom orders, the charge is added to the shopping bill so no money transaction takes place at the Click and Collect point.

Once the shopping is packed, the customer then simply drives home. For the trial, shopping will be held in a Tesco.com delivery van awaiting collections and if this is successful, Tesco will explore how stores could be adapted for the future to make drive-through shopping a permanent service.

The trial comes as Tesco opens its latest dotcom store in Greenford in response to increasing customer demand for online deliveries in West London. The store will introduce an earlier delivery time of 7am for customers in its catchment area and will deliver using a new fleet of vans running from landfill gas. Delivery volumes will initially reach 11,000 per week with the capacity to double this as demand increases. The store will employ 600 people and incorporates a number of environmental initiatives such as rainwater harvesting and delivering energy back to the grid from its biodiesel heat and power unit.o