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Chicago-area supermarket chain Mariano’s Fresh Market is studying the feasibility of launching its own home delivery service.
Third-party delivery service Instacart, which operates in multiple markets including Chicago, already shops for Mariano’s at-home customers, along with other area chain’s shoppers, but now the 33-unit chain is thinking about taking over the service itself, according to local press reports.
“We are in the early stages of our analysis and there is no concrete timetable that has been established,” James Hyland, VP of investor relations at Roundy's, Milwaukee-based parent of Mariano’s, said in a statement. “Our goal is to ensure our customers receive the same Mariano's experience whether through in-store shopping or home delivery.”
Enhancing the in-store experience
Bob Mariano, chairman and CEO of Roundy’s, told the Chicago Tribune that such a service must complement the in-store experience. “We are studying it very closely,” Mariano told the Tribune. “Most people still like to visit the store. So, it’s not one thing or the other. There's no one way."
As digital retailers like Amazon and Google have rolled out home delivery service in various markets, traditional grocers are studying their options. Those moving ahead with an omnichannel experience aim to leverage their historic competencies as food experts as an edge against upstarts learning the grocery business as they go. Some grocers have launched home delivery services, while others have pursued click-and-collect programs.
Since opening its first story in Arlington Heights in 2010, Mariano’s has expanded rapidly, helped along by the acquisition of 11 locations of the defunct Dominick’s chain, which Mariano used to helm before its acquisition by Safeway. The 34th Mariano's store is expected to open next month in the NewCity development of Chicago’s Goose Island neighborhood.