Metro continues to build its online offering in Quebec

Approximately 1.7 million households in 64 municipalities will be able to shop at by year’s end

Metro says 60% of Quebec’s approximately 8.2 million residents will be able to shop online at by the end of the year, as it continues to build both its click-and-collect and delivery capabilities.

The retailer first launched online shopping in Montreal in October 2016, and recently expanded the service to include both the Greater Montreal Area and Quebec City.

A new store opening in Gatineau before the end of 2017 will push the number of Quebec Metro stores offering online shopping to seven, serving approximately 1.7 million households across 64 municipalities.

Gino Plevano, Metro’s vice-president, digital strategy and online shopping, says everything except prepared foods and incidentals such as magazines can now be bought online – which works out to between 20,000 and 25,000 SKUs, depending on the store.

Metro offers next-day delivery for all orders placed before midnight and charges a  delivery fee that ranges from $4 to $8 depending on the day and time. The grocer charges a $4 “preparation fee” – with a minimum order of $50 – for click-and-collect orders.

The company has introduced a fleet of delivery trucks featuring separate compartments for dry goods, refrigerated and frozen items. It's also providing training aimed at ensuring staffers pick appropriate items for customers.

“There’s a lot of in-store training to make sure that the pickers as well as the customer would do it themselves,” says Plevano. Metro claims 98% of its online shoppers are satisfied with the freshness of the products they order.

Grocery is one of a dwindling number of Canadian retail categories yet to be transformed by e-commerce, though experts believe Amazon’s blockbuster US$13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods earlier this year could accelerate the process.

Plevano says the space is “really important” for Metro, which acquired a majority stake in the meal delivery service MissFresh in the wake of the Amazon/Whole Foods deal. “The market is small right now, but it’s going to grow rapidly,” he says. “It was important for Metro to be positioned as a leader in that marketplace.”

The company also plans to introduce online grocery in Ontario, though it has not yet disclosed a timeline for its rollout.

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