Peapod sees a very real opportunity in virtual grocery stores.
The company, which began testing a virtual grocery store using QR codes in train stations in the Philadelphia and Chicago areas earlier in the year, announced yesterday that it is launching more than 100 similar stores at stations in Boston, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Chicago.
"Getting your groceries on the way home from work just got a whole new meaning," said Mike Brennan, COO, Peapod, in a statement. "With schedules that are more demanding than ever and people spending 200+ hours a year in transit, our hope is that consumers will take advantage of our virtual stores and mobile app while they're on the go and enjoy the time saved when they're at home."
Consumers using the PeapodMobile app for Android and Apple devices will gain access to more than 11,000 name brand and private label items covering the entire store.
Peapod is really counting on the consumer desire for convenience to drive the service. Having virtual stores at rail stations also gives the company an extra means to reach potential shoppers
"We all know how challenging it can be to get the attention of consumers in a meaningful way," Mr. Brennan said. "When we piloted the virtual aisles in Philadelphia and Chicago earlier this year, we found that the advertising stopped people, it engaged them. That's what we're after."
How likely are other retailers in the U.S. to follow Peapod's lead and open their own virtual grocery stores?