eTail Canada 2021

2021

Toronto, ON

Loblaw Wants to Cover Canada with Ecommerce Options

brought to you by WBR Insights



As Canada's largest retailer of food, Loblaw is ideally placed to give Amazon a run for its money. Few brands can make other businesses break into a cold sweat like the ecommerce giant can, and many companies are looking for innovative ways to help them offer at least a little competition.

For Loblaw, this desire to compete with Amazon is taking the form of several new innovations, designed to offer greater than ever convenience to Canadian shoppers.

No Click and Collect Locations

After seeing success with early efforts, Loblaw is looking to significantly expand its portfolio of locations from which customers can collect their online orders. Shoppers Drug Mart sites, and many others, are markets being accessed by this initiative.

"Loblaw intends to blanket the country with ecommerce after seeing positive traction with its early efforts," said Loblaw Chief Executive, Galen Weston. "Customers are responding very positively to our offers. Not just in the urban markets, but also with a similar enthusiasm in some of the less dense rural markets."

The plan involves increasing the number of click-and-collect locations to 700, including nine of the Shoppers Drug Mart stores. However, it should be noted that customers won't be able to add Shoppers Drug Mart stores products to their Loblaw orders. At least not in the present form of the arrangement.

The company also plans to add home delivery to five more Canadian markets this year which will bring the total to 16, including Montreal, Halifax, and Regina. Loblaw has only recently begun offering home delivery following a partnership with digital ecommerce facilitator platform Instacart. Some see Instacart as a costly option, but it has proven popular, nonetheless.

"More and more Canadians want to purchase goods online," said Dean of Management at Dalhousie University, Sylvain Charlebois. "Loblaw is making a play to be the legitimate virtual player in Canada. It has the advantage of capitalizing on its bricks-and-mortar footprint and that is what it is doing with using the Shoppers Drug Mart network."

A Solution for Commuters

We've all experienced this issue at one time or another in our lives. You are traveling home from a hard day's work and your stomach is growling. You know full well your cupboards are bare and you're trying to lay off the take-out food as much as possible. However, the thought of having to get off the train, walk to a supermarket, shop for food, complete your journey home and then prepare a meal seems like a truly marathon task.

Loblaw has come up with an elegant solution to this age-old problem which gives commuters a new level of grocery shopping convenience while adding even more click-and-collect options to its offering.

Being tested at five Transit GO locations in Canada, Loblaw customers can arrange for their groceries to be delivered to the station so they can be collected when they arrive. This means they can place their order while still at work, arrange delivery for the time they know their train gets in, and so avoid having to make any detours on their way home.

Customers in eligible areas will be able to select the station pickup option when they check out online, and, depending on the facilities at the location, will be able to access lockers, kiosks, or special delivery trucks from which they can collect their orders. Some of the lockers are temperature-controlled, meaning that even refrigerated and frozen products can be ordered and collected using the system, with Loblaw offering a freshness guarantee if any part of the order isn't received in satisfactory condition.

Lockers are accessed with a special one-use PIN which is emailed to the customer after the goods have been paid for. In the event the customer is picking up from a kiosk or delivery truck, they only need to show their order number to verify their identity and take their groceries.

Final Thoughts

There's little doubt that click-and-collect options offer greater convenience to ecommerce shoppers who can't always be in to receive parcels. However, it is rare to see a company come up with an idea which addresses a very specific pain point such as the Loblaw partnership with Transit GO. If the idea proves to be popular, it's likely we'll see similar innovations being rolled out in the future.


Unique delivery options are set to be a hot topic at eTail Canada 2019, taking place in May at the Hyatt Regency Toronto, ON.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.