Grocery store of the future? Customers will never set foot inside new supermarket opening in Norwood

NORWOOD, Mass. — A new supermarket is opening in Norwood, but customers will never set foot inside.

Addie’s Grocery on Route 1 has a different model. Customers can order all their food online and pick it up at the store.

But unlike apps that hire someone to do your grocery shopping, Addie’s staff does the shopping themselves, so they have full control of inventory. They guarantee everything you order will be in your shopping bag and guarantee no substitutions.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, only about 3-4 percent of grocery profits was from money spent on online orders, according to research by consulting firm Bain & Company.

When the pandemic hit, grocery delivery exploded, and traditional stores scrambled to keep up with their own delivery and pick-up services.

Online grocery services offer convenience and can limit impulse-buys, saving money. Those are some of the benefits fueling grocery e-commerce, which has been predicted to double within five years, according to McKinsey.com.

And yet, there are challenges.

Jim Mcquade, the co-founder and CEO of Addie’s, says our favorite grocery store chains aren’t really designed to run as e-commerce businesses and that customers who shop online might not get the exact type of items they want when they unpack their shopping bag.

“Running online grocery out of a traditional customer facing store is a real challenge because those stores don’t know what’s on their shelves. It might be in the back room, it might be in other customers cart,” Mcquade said.

Even if the order is fulfilled, delivery charges with a tip on top can be steep.

“Not all families are able or willing to pay that,” Mcquade added. “30%, 50% at times markup for getting groceries delivered to the house.”

Addie’s is looking to address those issues.

“It’s the combination of affordable, accurate and fast,” Mcquade said of his new store.

Shoppers place their orders through the Addie’s app and can pick up their groceries on the same day in a fast experience.

“If you have kids in car seats, sing them one song. By the time that song is finished, you’ve got everything you’ve ordered,” Mcquade said.

Mcquade believes this model, which incorporates fair pay and zero food waste through strategic food bank donation, will be a hit beyond Norwood.

“We’re excited because we believe that what we’ve built here is something that we can replicate in towns all across the country,” Mcquade said.

Addie’s is located on Dean Street. It officially opens Thursday at 11 a.m.

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