Now part of the Empire group of banners, Longo’s recently announced it was combining its Grocery Gateway and Longos.com operations into a single online entity under Longos.com.
Launched in 2004, Grocery Gateway was a pioneer in the online grocery space, serving up to 70,000 customers from a 150,000 square-foot fulfillment centre in Vaughan, Ont. (Longo's said some elements of Grocery Gateway brand, such as its trucks, would continue to exist).
In addition to a new look, the new e-commerce site offers a single sign-in for all of Longo’s products and services including its Thank You Rewards loyalty program, Loft cooking classes, and online pick-up/delivery orders. VP of e-commerce and real estate Joseph Longo said the move created similar experiences across the company’s entire ecosystem, while unlocking additional value for customers.
Vice-president of e-commerce and digital strategy Christina Bédard said last year that online grocery had reached levels of popularity the company hadn’t expected to see for two to three years.
The country’s third-largest grocery chain reported a 19% year-over-year increase in online sales during the third quarter of fiscal 2021 (after growing nearly 300% in 2020), and has pledged to continue growing its e-commerce capabilities.
During the quarter, the Quebec grocer opened a Montreal store solely dedicated to filling online orders, and opened up more delivery slots. Metro also introduced home delivery to Ottawa and expanded its partnership with delivery service Cornershop to include its Adonis banner.
And, Metro CEO Eric La Flèche said its click-and-collect offering would grow from 45 to 170 stores by the end of September.
The Empire banner brought its online service Voilà to Alberta earlier this year, with the launch of curbside pick-up at three stores in Calgary and a single store in Edmonton. The company plans to add additional stores over the coming months.
The company is also building a state-of-the-art automated customer fulfillment centre in Calgary that will enable Voilà to offer home delivery service in the province by 2023.
Save-On-Foods president Darrell Jones told Canadian Grocer this year that the company has added e-commerce capabilities—click-and-collect, delivery or both—in every one of its stores. “That’s really important to us,” he said.
To streamline the online process, the company is adding automation to an existing warehouse in Vancouver and building a new automated warehouse. It also plans to explore automated picking inside the store (with humans picking fresh grocery).
“[A]utomation is going to become a bigger part of that reality,” said Jones. “It’s going to continue to grow and be a big part of our business moving forward.”