Consumers are gaining from the move by businesses of all kinds to provide more options for online and delivery from restaurants to retail and the lakes area is no exception.
Food Dudes, who joined the lakes area in an expansion from St. Cloud, is continuing to add restaurants to its list serving eateries that didn't have their own delivery service. Now 612 Station, Sage on Laurel, CherryBerry, Black Bear Lodge, Boulder Tap House, Senor Patron, Grizzly's, Poncho & Lefty's and Baxter's Bar & Grill.
And Instacart, the service that facilitates online ordering and delivery first from Cub Foods and Costco, added Aldi and Cash Wise Liquor. The addition of Instacart created an opportunity to order groceries and sundries online, interact with a personal shopper and have the groceries delivered to the door in as little as an hour or set up to arrive days later.
Walmart's recent remodel was in part to make room to pickup online orders and a grocery pickup where the customer never has to leave their vehicle. Target now offers drive up service billed as "a Target run with the car running," as customers can shop and select items for drive up and have store employees then bring their items out to the car.
Multiple stores are offering same day or next day delivery for online shoppers as they compete with Amazon for consumer dollars.
"The retailers who have found the most success lately have beefed up their stores to make them more amenable to shoppers who mostly purchase things online," Business Insider reported last fall, adding Target posted its strongest same-store sales numbers in 13 years, and traffic was at its highest since it started reporting the metric in 2008. Business Insider said Walmart, Target and Kohl's all reported strong earnings after launching new initiatives to blend e-commerce with in-store shopping.
"The move to beef up the in-store experience seems to be paying off for these retailers," Business Insider reported.
Just before Black Friday, Walmart unveiled a new service called "Check out with me" that lets customers have their items scanned right in their carts, pay via a card or Walmart Pay and then a receipt can be printed on the spot, or emailed to the customer and the customer can head out the door without going through a checkout lane.
Expectations are for the online grocery pickup at Walmart with designated parking area to be completed in July.
"That's how shopping is becoming these days, more convenient for people," Walmart store manager Jarrod Brademan said in a Dispatch interview in November, noting customers who spent all day at work don't want to spent another two hours in a store. "What an easy way just to have somebody deliver the items to your car and it's purchased and already done."
And the services are at stores that may not first come to mind.
OfficeMax and Office Depot have online ordering and then the option to pick up at the store in an hour. The website notes orders for eligible items must be places at least two hours before the store closing time. Customers get an email when the order is ready to be picked up.
As businesses continue to vie for consumer dollars, the trends for more shopping options, more convenience, and more ways to get items-online, drive-up, in store pick up and delivery within hours is likely to expand and continue to change how people and businesses interact.