Thursday, April 1, 2010

The drive-thru: Retailers' answer to online competitors?

Posted By on Thu, Apr 1, 2010 at 11:32 AM

click to enlarge DRIVE-THRU

America is so freakin' lazy.

One of the reasons why online shopping is so big is because we can do it from the comfort from our own homes — we don't have to get up off our butts.

In the same way, the McDonald's drive-thru thrives because people don't want to get out of their cars. And the concept of the drive-thru has taken over Starbucks, pharmacies and even some liquor stores.

Now, retail giants are starting to test out adopting that concept for themselves.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

During the past year, the Chicago area has turned into a retail test ground for mass merchants to experiment with drive-throughs. Sears Holdings Corp. started last spring by turning a Kmart store in Joliet into a drive-through warehouse, renaming the outpost MyGofer. Meijer Inc. followed suit with GroceryExpress drive-ups at stores in St. Charles and Aurora. And Wal-Mart Stores Inc. opened its first drive-through at a recently remodeled store in Mount Prospect.

While the concept is fledgling and there are kinks to work out, retail analysts predict that mass merchant drive-throughs will be moving into the mainstream as baby boomers age and the Internet changes the way people shop.

What do you think? Will the masses embrace a drive-thru Wal-Mart? What about drive-thru times? Will the sales associates who work these drive-thru lines be pressured to keep the line moving like fast-food workers are? And more importantly, is this really going to make a difference against the online competition?

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