Peapod Expands Virtual Grocery Shopping to Chicago


Home delivery of groceries is a business that at one time seemed to have so much promise, but the industry never seems to have lived up to the possibilities. One of the few hardy survivors has been Peapod.

The Chicago-based company’s innovative mobile campaign shows why Peapod has been able to fight through years of disappointment about its business and remain vital. Peapod is testing a “virtual grocery store” concept in Chicago. Royal Ahold, the Dutch retailing giant, owns Peapod via its Ahold USA division, and is no doubt aware of Tesco’s virtual subway store test in South Korea.

In its second market test of virtual retail following Philadelphia, Peapod is now bringing grocery “shelves” via QR-enabled signage to Chicago commuters. The e-grocer wrapped walls of the highly-trafficked State and Lake Station tunnel with larger-than-life signage and depictions of grocery products, offering a virtual shopping experience via smartphone.[more]

Mobile shoppers stopping to shop in the station tunnel (above) only need to scan a QR code to download Peapod’s free mobile app on the spot and start shopping by scanning the bar codes or fthe products featured on the “shelves.” A limited-time promotional code (“CHICAGORAIL”) offers a $20 discount on the first order, and 60 days of free delivery for subsequent orders. Brands participating in the test include Coca-Cola, Barilla, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser and Kimberly-Clark.

Peapod COO Mike Brennan noted in a press release that Chicagoans spend, on average, more than an hour each day commuting to and from work. So the Peapod program “is a creative, convenient way for passengers to multitask and knock out their grocery shopping on the go. It helps turn commuting time into produtive time.”

The e-grocer launched virtual rail pilot in Philadelphia in February on 15 commuter rail platforms throughout the region. According to Peapod, commuters there have “taken advantage of the onsite grocery scanning opportunity during the 12-week campaign, diversifying their selections and boosting their mobile order size. In addition, 90 percent of consumers who scanned returned to to Peapod by GIANT” (as the e-tailer is branded via a local partnership with Philly’s Giant grocery chain) to shop and order again. See the Philadelphia kick-off in action below.


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