It’s About Time… Pathmark Offers Shopping Online

Discussion
Nov 01, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson


Its corporate slogan, “It’s About Time,” might mean Pathmark’s new online shopping service will save consumers what they have too little of. On the other hand, it might also mean “It’s About Time” the grocery chain had a service similar to that offered by a number of its main competitors in the New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas, such as Shop-Rite, Stop & Shop and Acme.


Pathmark announced the rollout of online shopping in two stores in Middletown and Edgewater, NJ. A third store in Lawnside, NJ will begin offering online shopping shortly.


Visitors to pathmark.com will be able to place orders 24/7 and pick them up between 10:00 and 7:30 weekdays and 9:00 to 4:30 on weekends. Shoppers will be charged $10.00 to use the service.


Grant McLoughlin, senior vice president of advertising for Pathmark, said in a released statement, “We are excited about the opportunity to provide our customers with on-line shopping. This offering gives the customer who is constrained by time another option to traditional supermarket shopping, enabling them to devote the time savings to another aspect of their lives.” 


Moderator’s Comment: What is your reaction to Pathmark getting into the online grocery business? What will Pathmark need to do to achieve success in
this venture?

George Anderson – Moderator

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7 Comments on "It’s About Time… Pathmark Offers Shopping Online"


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Mark Lilien
Guest
15 years 3 months ago

It’s brave to charge $10 for a pick-up. I wonder if that will make it profitable, or just have it lose less money. Fresh Direct in NYC has online shopping with delivery, and although the sales growth is impressive, no one I know believes they make a profit. Grocery is such a low margin business that unless the customer is charged directly for the convenience, it’s unlikely that high volume will equal any profit at all, even in a densely populated place.

Dave Wilkening
Guest
Dave Wilkening
15 years 3 months ago
I was an online grocery shopper when “EasyGrocer” was around and abandoned the practice. It does not save time. It does save money though. Online grocery shopping can really cut down the impulse purchases. I think pickup is OK and an optional delivery service would be better. I do hope that each of these grocers: have a web site search engine that makes product/brand selections easy; bag perishable products of the very highest quality; and, match product brand availability with actual in-store product brand availability. This is particularly important because an “out of stock” in the store will translate to a second shopping trip for the consumer unless the grocer substitutes another brand (which the consumer may not like or want). The key here is that web site stock better match in store stock so the consumer chooses the substitute brand so that the product in the bag is the right one. Looks like I will have to try online grocery shopping again. It sure would be nice to have a barcode scanner in my… Read more »
Jeff Weitzman
Guest
Jeff Weitzman
15 years 3 months ago

Site features, like stored shopping lists and recipes tied into the shopping list engine, along with recommendations based on cart contents, can significantly cut the time spent on an order. A proper online shopping site should be able to cut the time spent shopping while at the same time encouraging additional purchases more effectively than in-store promotions. I agree with Al that a delivery option is desirable, but the shop online and pick up strategy is a good start. Even if the total time spent is the same, one word describes the difference: kids. Make your way through the supermarket with a few monkeys in tow and then tell me about convenience!

Al McClain
Guest
Al McClain
15 years 3 months ago

What I can’t quite figure is the time saving thing. Net, net, I don’t think it saves time. While the site seems quite well organized, it should take the average consumer about the same time to order the items online and pick them up at the store, as it would to just do their shopping the traditional way. So, ten bucks seems a steep premium for no net gain. The time savings would seem to apply only if people are ordering from, say, work, where they are using their employer’s time, or if they have 20 minutes available at one time to place their order and 20 minutes at another time to pick it up.

This service would be better and more valuable to shoppers if it offered delivery options, ala Stop & Shop’s Peapod.

George Anderson
Guest
George Anderson
15 years 3 months ago

Not having delivery trucks traveling to consumers’ homes will get Pathmark and others using store pickup to the point where they are making a profit faster than if they chose to follow the Peapod method.

David Livingston
Guest
15 years 3 months ago

It is about time that a recognizable grocer got into the online market in the NYC metro area. Pathmark enjoys one of the highest sales per unit performances in the country, so they should have no trouble with name recognition. Execution is a different story. Pathmark has struggled running its business among some of the weakest competition (Ahold and A&P). They better make sure they put some high tech brains in charge of this one and not make it a pet project for one of their already too busy VPs. Generally, I’m not high on online grocery shopping unless it is in a densely populated urban area where most people don’t drive and have loads of cash. NYC is perfect.

Race Cowgill
Guest
Race Cowgill
15 years 3 months ago

I have some questions for all of you:

1. What are the factors that determine the success and failure of online grocery? Why have the failures failed? Why have the successes succeeded?

2. Do we have something more than anecdotal data (such as numeric data) for this?

3. What is the online concept really trying to achieve or solve or provide? In other words, in an ideal world, what would it look like and how would it work and how would customers use it?

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