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Albertsons recently announced it will start offering grocery delivery from nearly 2,000 stores in as little as an hour through the food delivery company DoorDash’s marketplace app. The grocer will also use DoorDash Drive, the company’s white label e-commerce platform, to power online shopping in select markets.
Under the partnership, DoorDash will offer delivery of more than 40,000 products from Albertsons, with no minimum order size required. Shoppers who use DashPass, the company’s membership service, get delivery fees waived on orders of $25 or more. Moreover, DoorDash offered users up to $40 off their first Albertsons order through a 40%-off promotion until the end of June to lure in customers.
The move comes after Albertsons pulled back on operating its own delivery fleets in certain areas, firing its own delivery drivers and replacing them with independent contractors amid the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this year, news emerged that Albertsons would discontinue using its own delivery fleets in markets like Southern California and Texas. Instead, the company wanted to rely on popular companies like DoorDash and Instacart for last-mile fulfillment. Citing the expense of operating refrigerated trucks and staffing its own drivers, Albertsons opted to bet on outsourcing and “the prospect of enticing the millions of customers currently using third-party apps.”
Albertsons is now DoorDash’s latest and largest grocery partner. The firm delivers from grocers like Hy-Vee, Meijer, and Farmstead. Launched last year, it also operates its own online convenience chain, DashMart, which operates more than 25 locations in the U.S.
In Southern California, Ralphs’ delivery is operated by Instacart, and Target uses Shipt. Now with both Albertsons and Vons moving in a similar direction, shoppers are left without a grocery delivery option that treats drivers as employees.
After a fiscal year that recorded a 258% increase in digital sales, Albertsons is positioning itself for sustained long-term growth in line with rivals like Amazon, Walmart, and Kroger. The grocer offers pickup service from more than 1,400 locations and plans to integrate more automated micro-fulfillment centers to process online orders in population-dense markets.
One such example is the company’s launch of a pilot of a remote-controlled delivery cart program. Together with the EV company Tortoise, Albertsons Companies and Safeway are piloting a remote-controlled zero-emission delivery cart that can hold up to 120 pounds of groceries in four lockable containers for a contactless delivery experience. Remote-controlled by operators located thousands of miles away will guide the delivery cart to customers up to three miles from the store location. It is also equipped with a camera and a speaker. When the cart arrives at a home, the customer receives a text to come outside and pick up their groceries. The carts are specifically designed to ride at an average speed of 3mph, and are 100% powered by an electric battery.