- Peapod is launching "Ask Peapod" for Alexa that will allow consumers to voice order items that are then added to the shoppers' weekly grocery carts, the company said in a statement.
- Peapod said voice ordering is a natural next step in ordering groceries and comes as the company invests in more innovations designed for the connected shopper.
- "The beauty of online grocery shopping is that you can add to your order throughout the week and at the very moment you remember that you need something," Cat de Merode, Peapod's vice president of product, said in the release. "We know that our customers often visit Peapod multiple times throughout the week while completing their orders. Now, as soon as a shopper thinks of an item, they have the option of adding it their cart via Alexa, their desktop, or our award-winning mobile app for the ultimate convenience."
Peapod was founded in 1989. While early competitors such as Webvan, HomeGrocer and other operations went out of business, the online grocery pioneer prevailed. Executives at Peapod have said they can deliver groceries quickly and efficiently, but are forthcoming about areas where they lack expertise.
Peapod has worked with outside partners to make the process of meal planning, ordering groceries and preparing food easier — a factor further complicated by the fact that millennials, many of whom grew up without culinary skills, are going to Pinterest, Instagram or blogs for inspiration and need a little guidance to make what they find. Peapod struck a deal in April with DinnerTime.com — a website that considers product promotions at the online grocer as well as a shopper's personal tastes, time constraints, tastes, budget and dietary restrictions — to create a parallel shopping list, which is then either programmed for home delivery or pick-up.
Peapod is by no means the first company to tap into the ordering capabilities of Alexa — beer lovers, for example, can order Miller Lite in some areas on Alexa by saying, "Alexa, start Miller Time." This technology is perfectly suited to busy consumers who may suddenly run out of an ingredient while cooking or are not in a position to write or type down something they need.
The system is beneficial to Peapod because consumers can immediately add an item to their grocery list, with the online grocer or its parent company Ahold Delhaize in a position to fill the order. Otherwise, the shopper may decide later to purchase it elsewhere, or forgetting altogether.
For millennials and other shoppers increasingly turning to the web to buy their groceries, the Ask Peapod function is a great way to nab customers who may use the technology as their preferred way of ordering many of their groceries. With Amazon making bigger inroads in the grocery space, highlighted by its recent $13.7 billion purchase of organic and natural foods retailer Whole Foods, and competitors like Instacart rapidly expanding, Peapod must look to participate in the different methods used by consumers to stock their fridges and pantries. Alexa is just the latest technology companies such as Peapod need to remain relevant in a rapidly changing food space.
“You do not survive in this industry without being a little paranoid and looking over your shoulder," Carrie Bienkowski, Peapod’s chief marketing officer, told Food Dive in an interview earlier this year. "Ten years ago, just getting your groceries delivered — that was convenient. But one of the things we're really internalizing is the fact that we've got to continue to evolve beyond just the delivery of groceries."