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11/18/2021

Kroger integrates in-store pickup with Google Maps

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Pickup with Google Maps is now available in over 2,000 Kroger banner stores in the U.S.

Several banners of a leading grocery chain are early adopters of a new Google Maps omnichannel order tracking/notification tool.

First launched in Portland, Ore., with select Fred Meyers stores, the pickup with Google Maps feature enables customers to utilize the Google Maps app to track their order status, share their estimated time of arrival and let the store know when they have arrived, all from within the app.

Since the initial rollout at Fred Meyers, Kroger has made pickup with Google Maps available at over 2,000 store locations in more than 30 states, across banners including Kroger, Fry’s, Ralphs, and Marianos. According to Google, consumers who use pickup with Google Maps typically wait less than five minutes for their groceries.

Google is also rolling out several other new shopping-related features of the Google Maps app in time for the holidays.

This includes expanding the Google Maps directory tab globally on Android and iOS for all airports, malls and transit stations around the world. Now, when Google has this data available, customers can see what types of stores are in a building, as well as amenities such as airport lounges, car rentals, and parking lots. And within each category, customers can see a list of the relevant businesses, in addition to information about whether it’s open, its rating, and what floor it's on.

In addition, Google is introducing a new feature called “Area Busyness” that leverages live activity data to help consumers see when a neighborhood or part of town is near or at its busiest. Google Maps users can now tap on a neighborhood to see how busy it is at different times of day, along with the restaurants, shops and recreational places (such as a museum) within it.

Other new features include the ability to see price ranges for dining spots in the U.S. based on contributions from other Google Maps users. The company is also rolling out a streamlined way to provide more detailed reviews about places, such as whether or not a restaurant or cafe has things like outdoor seating, delivery options, curbside pickup, or any other customer-facing features.

These new features follow Google’s June 2021 rollout of several new ways for digital advertisers to leverage Google Maps to perform real-time, targeted marketing. These include auto-suggest ads that show a retailer’s nearby location to consumers to users searching for its specific products and/or services, such as an ad for a nearby auto service center if they search for “oil change.”

Google also enabled navigational ads to promote a retailer while consumers are using Google Maps to navigate somewhere. A store can show up along the route for relevant users, displayed in a non-intrusive way that is safe for the driver. And similar places ads allow retailers to show a store location to consumers who are searching on Maps for similar businesses nearby, while also allowing retailers to display products available for immediate or later in-store or curbside pickup via local inventory ads. 

“The holidays are right around the corner, and we’re starting to get santa-mental!,” said Amanda Leicht Moore, director of product, Google Maps, in a corporate blog post. “This year, many places around the world are lifting restrictions — which means people are excited to celebrate with friends and family. To keep the coming weeks stress-free, we’re launching new Google Maps tools to help you stay safe, maximize your time with loved ones and find that perfect holiday brunch spot.”