Metro Group’s hypermarket operator Real is considering rolling out instore pick-up stations for online grocery across its German store network, according to Lebensmittel Zeitung. However, a full roll-out of the service will be dependent on shopper acceptance. To reduce costs, its four Drive locations as well as the home delivery operation will be simultaneously discontinued.At present, Real offers click & collect in eight of its around 285 stores. Customers can choose from around 8,000 SKUs, which are picked directly instore by store staff. Once rolled out, the company will be the first German retailer to offer click & collect on a large scale. Currently, only competitor Rewe Group has ambitions to expand its click & collect initiative.
Influenced by Amazon, today’s shopper expects a broad and deep assortment when ordering online. Real has so far offered a limited selection of items at its Drive locations, which were standalone pick-up points, and for its home delivery service. Now the hypermarket operator will also limit the click & collect offer to around 8,000 SKUs. Shoppers might wonder why exactly they cannot chose from the whole range of a Real hypermarket when shopping online, not to mention the online opportunities for range extension that are often leveraged by other retailers.
An effective omnichannel solution can be seen at British retailer John Lewis Partnership. Here the retailer has successfully brought together its online and offline channels, even across banners. Shoppers can pick up their online non-food orders from John Lewis at Waitrose supermarkets, where they can then complete their grocery shopping. German retailers need to ask themselves: Why should customers choose from a limited range online and then pick up their order in a store, where they can find a bigger assortment?
We would expect that Real will need to expand its online assortment over time to make the click & collect service more attractive. With the launch of Amazon Fresh in Germany and other retailers such as Rewe Group offering an online shop, Real must build up a competitive offer. Lessons learned from its click & collect initiative will also support Real in case it plans to relaunch home delivery, as the retailer will most likely rely on instore picking as it does with click & collect. For any future home delivery service, Real will certainly need a broader assortment as customers will not expect to top up their orders, being more used to retailers using darkstores and expanding the range of products available.