Shopper self-retrieving their online grocery order from BrightDrop’s Trace Grocery. Pre-production Trace Grocery shown with after-market decals applied. Actual production unit may vary. Image from BrightDrop

BrightDrop is adding self-dispense feature to its online grocery pickup service.

A year after unveiling Trace Grocery, BrightDrop’s temperature-managed eCart for optimized grocery fulfillment and curbside pickup, the business from GM is adding a brand new feature: self-dispense.

Self-dispense gives shoppers the ability to retrieve their online grocery orders directly from secure compartments at a store’s curb without store associate assistance. This can reduce wait times for customers and create efficiencies for grocers by allowing store associates to primarily focus on the in-store fulfillment process. Grocers can spend up to 16% of the order fulfillment time on manually dispensing customer orders (Information provided is based on results from time studies captured by a leading grocer. Results may vary based on individual processes and workflows). Self-dispense can eliminate the need for this step entirely, saving grocers time and allowing them to fulfill more orders, faster.

It’s a game-changer for on-the-go consumers who are increasingly looking for both convenience and autonomy, and a simplifier for grocers who are searching for ways to streamline processes and keep up with the growing demand for click-and-collect.

This is BrightDrop’s latest move to innovate the fast-growing grocery segment. Online grocery is expected to reach $240 billion by 2025, and more than double that in the next decade. This is a huge market opportunity and key growth driver for BrightDrop.

How BrightDrop self-dispense feature works:

  • Step 1 – Pick & Pack: Once an online order has been placed with the grocer, a store associate picks and packs groceries straight into the Trace Grocery compartments, sorting by temperature.
  • Step 2 – Move: When picking and packing is complete, a store associate moves the unit to a convenient curbside location for customer pickup.
  • Step 3 – Serve: The shopper has the option to use their smartphone to unlock specific compartments and dispense their groceries without waiting on support from an associate.

Benefits for grocers, and their shoppers

  • Easy and Flexible: An easy-to-activate solution that’s scalable to meet the needs of grocers without having to install costly refrigeration or stationary lockers.
  • Efficient: Self-dispense can enable a 34% reduction in time to serve online orders (Results based on an initial pilot study. Actual results may vary) by removing staging and de-staging steps, as well as decreased customer pickup wait times
  • Employee Satisfaction: Equipped with battery propulsion that matches walking speeds of up to 3 mph, Trace Grocery helps to reduce physical strain of store associates as they fulfill orders
  • Customer Satisfaction: Empowers shoppers with choice and autonomy for retrieving their online orders

Trace Grocery equipped with self-dispense is available to order today with deliveries of units expected to begin in early 2024. This new generation of Trace Grocery enables us to provide our grocery customers with flexible options to better serve their shoppers.

Self-dispense can enable a 34% reduction in time to serve online orders by removing staging and de-staging steps, as well as decreased customer pickup wait times.

Trace Grocery eCart
Trace Grocery eCart

Trace Grocery:

BrightDrop introduced Trace Grocery in 2022 with a new temperature-controlled eCart designed to optimize fulfillment and curbside pickup for the $240 billion online grocery industry.

Focused on speeding up online grocery order fulfillment and pickup, the Trace Grocery is designed to provide retailers the efficiency and cost-savings benefits their businesses need, and the shopper the convenience and flexibility they expect from online grocery services. Today’s online order fulfillment process involves many steps within the store to identify, collect and store products before putting them in the hands of customers.

Trace Grocery helps streamline that process for grocers by allowing employees to put orders directly into the unit before stationing it curbside for customer retrieval. With access given after digital verification, Trace Grocery is compatible with most grocers’ existing online fulfillment apps, enabling flexibility for customers when retrieving their purchases.

The unit’s ability to easily move inside and outside of a store, while providing access to customers without an employee present, allows grocers to explore new ways to get products closer to shoppers’ doorsteps. Built on the BrightDrop Trace Platform originally designed for last-mile fulfillment, the Trace Grocery features and benefits include:

  • Temperature management to store items at food-safe temperatures for up to four hours.
  • Propulsion-assistance to move up to 350 pounds of groceries, helping reduce physical strain on the labor force.
  • Auto-braking to stop the electric motor that matches an operator’s walking speed up to 3 mph.
  • Nine compartments to segment items by order, temperature and product type for optimized pickups.
  • Flexibility to easily maneuver inside and outside of a grocer’s store to help reduce costly staging and infrastructure requirements.
  • Weatherproofing to handle variable temperatures and outdoor elements with ease.
Trace Grocery eCart

BrightDrop’s portfolio of all-electric hardware and software solutions

The Trace Grocery is the latest product in BrightDrop’s portfolio of all-electric hardware and software solutions. After a record-setting commercialization of its first product to market, BrightDrop has already secured more than 25,000 EV production reservations and letters of intent while delivering over 100 EVs to its U.S. launch customer, marking one of the nation’s largest deployments of commercial electric delivery vans to date.