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Publix tests mobile ordering to enhance the shopping experience

Supermarket chain Publix is slated to begin testing mobile ordering for its deli department next month, with plans to roll out the program to 50 additional stores later this year.

Publix customers will be able to place orders online or via a mobile device for custom subs, wraps and sliced meats and cheeses by visiting Several locations will also have in-store devices for order placement.

“In today’s digital world, mobile accessibility is important to our customers,” said Maria Brous, director of media and community relations at Publix, Lakeland, FL.

“As a retailer passionately focused on our customers shopping experiences, we are always evaluating technology that enhances that overall experience,” she said. “In addition, we recognize that our customers are on the go and prefer conveniences at their fingertips.

“Deli Online Easy Ordering via mobile, online or in-store, help our customers save time and utilize the technology that they are accustomed to using for almost everything.”

Easy pickup
The mobile ordering site was created with smartphone users in mind and will prompt customers to save their order selections to a “Favorites” section so future orders can be easily placed.

To place an order, customers select the items they want on the site, specify pickup time and submit the order.

An order pickup number will be provided on the final order summary and emailed to customers. Also included will be the deli department’s telephone number, which customers can call if they need to change an order once it has been placed.

Customers will  be able to order a party sub via their mobile phones

To pick up and pay for their orders, customers go to the “Online Easy Pickup” location in the deli department.

Customers using mobile ordering will pay the same price on items, including sale prices, which are effective that day in the store. No minimum order amount is required and there is no fee for the service.

For the first test store location, associates will be wearing t-shirts to promote the program. There will also be point-of-purchase signs in the store making customers aware that the service is coming.

As the program rolls out to additional stores, Publix will expand the marketing to include online information and targeted media outreach in specific markets.

Mobile ordering is an increasingly popular service with pizza chains such as Domino’s and Papa John’s as well as restaurant chain T.G.I. Friday’s as way to reduce wait times and drive convenience for on-the-go customers. However, to date there has not been a lot of news from supermarkets on this front.

As grocery shoppers are often pressed for time and do not want to have to wait in lind at the deli counter, it makes sense that mobile ordering should expand to the deli counter at a supermarket.

Publix’s mobile ordering program will launch on Aug. 3 at the Publix store in Lakeland, FL.

Later this year, Publix will expand the test to 50 additional stores in an effort to better understand customer response and overall performance.

The supermarket chain has an iPhone app that includes weekly sale items and a mobile site at

Publix operates 1,053 supermarkets in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee.

“Our goal is to positively impact the customer’s shopping experience, reduce the wait time at our deli service counters and allow customers the convenience of placing customized orders on the go,” Ms. Brous said. “Overall, we continue to research technologies and mobile solutions that will ultimately positively impact the customer.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York