The 38,000-square-foot facility, the first of its kind for an Ahold Delhaize brand, will fulfill orders for delivery or pickup.

Two Ahold Delhaize USA units are working together to test omnichannel grocery fulfillment concepts in Pennsylvania.

Peapod.com, which already provides next-day delivery for Giant and Martin’s grocery stores, has begun testing same-day delivery in partnership with Deliv Inc. Working with Deliv, Peapod now offers customers one-hour delivery windows starting four hours after the shopper purchases, in select zip codes in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania.

Peapod says it expects to expand same-day delivery to include additional Giant/Martin’s markets, as well as those served by other grocery store brands that use Peapod delivery.

Ahold Delhaize’s Peapod grocery delivery brand, launched in 1989, recently became part of Peapod Digital Labs, created by Ahold Delhaize last year as an “innovation lab” to help the parent company’s supermarket chains improve their ecommerce operations. Giant and Martin’s are grocery store brands operated by Ahold Delhaize-owned Giant Food Stores LLC.

Meanwhile, Giant Food Stores plans to open a previously closed grocery store in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, as a fulfillment hub to process online orders for customer pickup or delivery to consumers’ homes. Giant Food Stores created the hub in collaboration with Peapod Digital Labs.

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The 38,000-square-foot facility, formerly a Giant grocery store that closed in 2017, will be branded as Giant Direct, powered by Peapod. It will employ about 150 people, the company says. The center is scheduled to open Feb. 12.

A rendering of Giant Food Stores’ soon-to-open ecommerce hub in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

So far, there are no plans for additional ecommerce hubs, but that could change depending on how the Lancaster facility is received.

“This is the first one and we’ll see how it goes,” the spokesman says. However, Giant is interested in experimenting with new fulfillment and delivery options in the future, he says.

An Ahold Delhaize spokeswoman says the Giant Direct ecommerce hub is the first of its kind for any of the company’s brands.

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In addition to fulfilling online orders, the new facility will offer a place for shoppers to place digital orders. For consumers who lack internet access, or prefer an alternative to ordering online, the new hub will feature a walk-up vestibule with tablets consumers can use to place orders for next-day pickup or delivery.

A Giant Food Stores spokesman says the new store will expand the delivery capacity in the Lancaster area by about 40% and also allows the retailer to serve the local neighborhood in an efficient way that makes sense for the community. He says the company created the new facility in close collaboration with the office of Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace.

The hub is part of a previously announced $22 million investment in Lancaster that also included remodeling four stores and opening a new fuel station. Giant Food Stores has been making strategic changes to its mix of stores across Pennsylvania.  

Giant Food Stores operates stores under the Giant, Martin’s Food Markets, and Giant Heirloom Market brand names. It operates more than 170 grocery stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.

Ahold Delhaize is No. 62 in the  Internet Retailer 2018 Top 1000. Peapod offers delivery to homes and businesses and has more than 200 pickup locations. Peapod is available in 24 metro markets across New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Maryland, District of Columbia and Virginia.

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