British group of department stores Waitrose is starting up a system with lockers, where customers can pick up the food products they ordered online, without having to go into the store. Via a text message they will get a code to open the locker. The lockers can be kept at room temperature, but can also be cooled or be used for frozen goods.
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The lockers are currently being tested at the company headquarters. Next year they will be installed at locations of the company. If the lockers are successful, Waitrose wants to start using them at locations where there aren't any stores available yet. Those lockers will then be stocked a few times a day.
The new lockers are an expansion of the classic online orders, which have been present since 2009 at a 150 locations and five drive-ins. Those drive-ins will also be expanded in the next couple of months.
Waitrose is continuing its efforts in pleasing the online consumer. This year the chain is also opening a ‘reception desk’, like those you might see in a hotel, in hundreds of locations. There customers can make orders online using a tablet, with or without the aid of the staff. They can also get help at the reception desk for packaging gifts bought in the shop.
The innovations coincide with the troubles Waitrose is having with Ocado: the chain had an exclusive deal with that company for the delivery of online orders until 2017, but Ocado has currently made a deal with rival Morrissons for the delivery of their products, starting January 2014.