America’s Drive-Through Future
As Sandra Jones’ article on the Chicago Tribune website points out,
Americans are used to going the drive-through route to get their fast food
meals, prescription meds and do their banking. In the future, it’s possible
that the older, web surfing versions of our current selves will be also hitting
the drive-through to pick up groceries, consumer electronics and other items
sold in a wide variety of retail stores.
Today in the Chicagoland market, there are a number of chains, including Meijer,
Sears and Wal-Mart Stores, that are testing drive-through services.
"This is our first shot at this," Rob Fleener, vice president of
business development at Meijer, told the Trib. "There are a lot
of things we’ll do to improve this once we decide to roll it out. Right now,
we’re learning as much as we can."
Meijer is testing GroceryExpress drive-ups at stores in St. Charles and Aurora.
Ander, a partner at McMillan Doolittle, said retailers have tried to figure
out how to add drive-throughs in the past with little success.
challenge is, how do you fill a complex order?" Mr. Ander
said. "You can’t have (clerks) running all over the store."
Sears’ MyGofer format has sought to deal with the complexity issue by eliminating
the store and having shoppers drive up to warehouses that make it easier for
workers to pick orders.
"At this point in retail, everybody is just trying to capture another
little wedge of the pie," Candace Corlett, principal at WSL Strategic
Retail, told the Trib. "You can’t overlook anything. It’s a new
game, and every option has to be considered."
Will drive-throughs become a common fixture for retail stores in the future?
What are the biggest factors preventing drive-throughs at retail today?