Peapod.com, the nation's leading Internet grocer, announced the launch of more than 100 virtual grocery stores at commuter rail stations in Boston, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Chicago. The first of its kind in the U.S., the virtual store technology features billboards of larger-than-life grocery aisles on the train platforms. Commuters with iPhones, iPads or Android phones simply scan a QR code on the billboards to download a free PeapodMobile app and start shopping on the spot by scanning bar codes of the products displayed in the "aisles."
Peapod has teamed with national consumer products brands, including Barilla, Coca-Cola, Kimberly Clark, Proctor & Gamble and Reckitt Benckiser to redefine when, where and how consumers knock out the task of grocery shopping. On average, commuters in Peapod markets spend an hour in transit to and from work each day. With the Peapod virtual grocery stores, they can get orders started, make selections from Peapod's entire online store, and schedule home deliveries—for next day or even several days or weeks in advance—making the most of their train rides.
"Getting your groceries on the way home from work just got a whole new meaning," said Mike Brennan, COO of Peapod. "With schedules that are more demanding than ever and people spending 200+ hours a year in transit+, our hope is that consumers will take advantage of our virtual stores and mobile app while they're on the go and enjoy the time saved when they're at home."
What's in store
Peapod's East Coast virtual store ads feature products that typically fill weekly grocery shopping baskets for busy households, including staples like coffee, condiments and cleaning products; soft drinks, snacks and cereal; milk and bread; health and beauty products; and fresh fruits and vegetables. In Chicago, virtual stores feature Peapod's selection of Chicago's Best prepared foods, sourced from 30 of the city's favorite restaurants and hometown brands, such as Wildfire, Big Bowl, Eli's cheesecake, Chicago Butter Cookies, Intelligentsia coffee and Goose Island Beer.
Once on the PeapodMobile app, customers have access to more than 11,000 popular and store-brand products, from grocery basics to farm-fresh produce; top quality meats and seafood; prepared foods and party trays; deli meats and cheeses, sliced to order; Kosher, organic and specialty foods; office, school and pet supplies. A variety of beer, wine and beverages are also available in select markets.
First-time Peapod customers will need to register on peapod.com in order to complete their first PeapodMobile order on their smartphones.
Consumers crave convenience
Convenience is more important than ever to busy consumers who are using technology to alleviate pain points at the supermarket. A recent report from Nielsen finds that more than one quarter (26 percent) of global respondents plan to purchase food and beverages via a device with Internet access in the next three to six months. Additionally, 61 percent of respondents said they used the Internet for grocery shopping research. Smart marketers are responding to this demand and offering shoppers digital strategies to improve their online experience.
Brennan added that the Virtual Rail marketing concept is also an unexpected way for Peapod and its national brand partners to reinforce messaging with target consumers. "We all know how challenging it can be to get the attention of consumers in a meaningful way. When we piloted the virtual aisles in Philadelphia and Chicago earlier this year, we found that the advertising stopped people, it engaged them. That's what we're after."