Publix adds curbside capabilities

Mike Troy
Editorial Director
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Publix added curbside pickup at two Florida locations on Sept. 28.

Publix has added grocery pickup at two stores in Florida ahead of what industry trends dictate will be an expanded rollout.

Publix stores in the Florida communities of Wesley Chapel and Valrico introduced the curbside capability on Sept. 28 with availability of the service planned for Atlanta area stores before year end.

“We’ve had great success with Publix Delivery powered by Instacart, and the demand for online grocery services has continued to grow. So we’re excited to test Publix Curbside and learn more about how to best meet the evolving needs of our customers,” said Maria Brous, director of media and community relations.

At the Wesley Chapel location, three parking space near the store's entrance are dedicated for pick up customers with signs numbered 1, 2 and 3. Each sign has a phone number that shoppers call to alert employees to their arrival at which point the previously pulled ordered is gathered and brought to the car by a Publix employee. In addition to signs inside and outside the store alerting shoppers to the service, flyers are also being given to shoppers with their receipts to explain how the Curbside process.

Although launch of the service is characterized as a “test,” it is hard to imagine a scenario where Publix doesn’t rapidly expand curbside pick up to virtually all of its more than 1,100 stores in 2018 and beyond. It will need to do so just to remain on equal footing with larger rivals such as Walmart and Kroger, both of whom have rapidly expanded the curbside pick up to more than 1,000 of their locations and told investors that shoppers love the service.

Publix, with annual sales of $34 billion, began rolling out grocery delivery with Instacart in July 2016 and by the end of 2017 plans to offer delivery from more than 90% of its stores.

Whether shoppers choose delivery or curbside, they can expect to pay higher prices due to the mark ups Instacart charges. By opting for curbside pick up at checkout shoppers avoid the delivery fee.