During this year of the COVID-19 pandemic, online food shopping has skyrocketed in popularity as many shoppers seek an alternative to shopping at stores.
While in most cases this means having orders delivered to shoppers’ homes, another option is “click and collect,” whereby shoppers pick up their online orders at a store or other location.
One click and collect option that has taken root in France and elsewhere in Europe is #EPTABricks, which are refrigerated lockers located inside buildings or outside. Manufactured by Italian OEM Epta, EPTABricks use propane (R290) refrigerant for both fresh food (#EPTAfreshBricks) and frozen food (#EPTAfrozenBricks).
These [lockers] can be used to retrieve, even outside the store opening hours, 24/7, purchases of fresh, frozen and dry products ordered online during the day”Epta
Epta calls its click and collect solution a “smart, safe and easy to use shopping solution, minimizing waiting times, all key elements for respecting the restriction obligations imposed by the current situation.” #EPTABricks can be located in residential districts along the “home-work route,” inside or close to large companies, and close to stores or to petrol stations.
In France, #EPTABricks have been adopted by several major retailers, such as E.Leclerc, Intermarchè, Casino, Carrefour and SuperU. Driven by the growth in online sales, #EPTABricks orders jumped by 300% during one week on April 2020, compared to the same period in 2019, according to Epta. In one week in March, click and collect accounted for 7% of total online sales in France.
77 refrigerated lockers
In 2018, EPTA France installed 77 EPTABricks refrigerated lockers for the E.Leclerc outside in one location in Anglet (near Biarritz) in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region (southwestern France).
The lockers were installed adjacent to a Leclerc Express and in front of the main tram line in the center of Anglet.
“These [lockers] can be used to retrieve, even outside the store opening hours, 24/7, purchases of fresh, frozen and dry products ordered online during the day,” said Epta.
E.Leclerc is a significant player in the French market with 569+ locations in France and 114+ stores outside of the country.
This article is included in a special issue of Accelerate focusing on Best Practices in Food Retail. Read it here.