The Giant Co. is adding new aisles to its virtual supermarket.
- The Carlisle-based company unveiled a new Amazon-style service yesterday that brings tens of thousands of new items to its online shoppers.
- Called Ship2Me by Giant, the new service is an online marketplace developed by sister company Peapod Digital Labs.
- The marketplace features items not normally found on supermarket shelves, such as pillowcases, bathroom mats and toy strollers.
How does it work: Customers order items from Ship2Me on Giant’s website. But the items come from third-party sellers selected by the supermarket chain, which operates 190 stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia and West Virginia.
- “Vendors are evaluated on many criteria, from sustainability to supplier diversity,” Giant spokesperson Katie Crane wrote in an email. “Products are not limited to food items but can be kitchen essentials, décor, or other home goods that are not represented in stores.”
- Unlike groceries — which must be picked up at the store or delivered within a certain window — Ship2Me items can be shipped directly.
- Buyers can use standard shipping, which is free and takes four to nine days.
- But sellers can offer faster options for an extra fee, such as express or next-day delivery.
- Returns are free and there is no minimum order, according to a Giant press release.
- Purchases through Ship2Me count toward Giant’s customer-rewards program.
Why is this happening: Retailers have seen online sales spike by double digits during the Covid-19 pandemic, and they are rushing to offer more options to their shoppers.
- An online marketplace allows retailers to add products from outside vendors instead of having to do their own sourcing, storage and distribution
- Amazon and Walmart pioneered the concept, according to trade pub Grocery Dive. But they are getting company.
- Cincinnati-based Grocery company Kroger introduced an online marketplace last year.
- Giant’s Maryland-based sister company, also called Giant, rolled out Ship2Me in December. Both Giants, as well as Peapod Digital, are subsidiaries of The Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize.
- In a presentation to stock analysts last fall, Ahold execs said the Ship2Me marketplace would launch with about 40,000 items.
–by Joel Berg, editor of biznewsPA