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Hy-Vee to test new drive-thru online order pickup concept in Twin Cities

HY-VEE-1

MINNEAPOLIS — Hy-Vee recently received city approval for a new three-lane, drive-thru, online order, pickup kiosk at its New Hope, MN, store, which also happens to be the Iowa-based company’s first location to open in the Twin Cities market since 2015.

“This is the community where it kind of all started for Hy-Vee in the Twin Cities,” said Hy-Vee Real Estate Director Phil Hoyt. “And it will also be first in the Twin Cities for this concept as well.”

Customers will use Hy-Vee’s online e-commerce service — called Aisles Online — and will be able to order fresh produce, frozen items, groceries, household, and health and beauty items, which will then be gathered from a separate fulfillment center — not the store shelves — and delivered directly to the kiosk. This is expected to reduce traffic from in-store personal shoppers and reduce congestion at checkout.

Hoyt added that with products off-site, customers would also have more options than what is in stores.

Customers will then pick up their order at the new 960-square-foot, freestanding kiosk that will offer three drive-thru lanes — similar to a bank drive-thru — where a store employee will load all items into the customer’s vehicle. The service is free with a $30 minimum purchase.

Target and Walmart already offer online order pickups but they have a couple of designated car posts in their parking lots and items are pulled from their store shelves by personal shoppers. This concept is different from those competitors since the online order is sourced from an offsite warehouse and transported to the location nearest the customer.

If the experiment is a success, Hoyt said that Hy-Vee plans kiosks to be a “growing part of our offering.”

“We want this to be in all of our stores,” Hoyt added.