Sainsbury’s ‘dark stores’ and bikes help reach vulnerable customers

Determined to meet unprecedented demand for home grocery deliveries, Sainsbury’s is expanding its capacity by using ‘closed’ convenient stores as fulfilment centres. It is making use of its app-based Chop Chop service for customer ordering.

The supermarket group is currently trialling offering shoppers another way to access essential grocery and household items from its closed Blackfriars convenience store – but plans to roll out the service beyond London soon.

Easy picking from dark stores

By using closed Local stores Sainsbury’s can maximise the number of customers it can serve through the service, tailoring the layout of the stores so it can stock more essential products and can be picked more easily.

Sainsbury’s expects to be able to serve up to 3,500 customers a week from the one store and is working with its delivery partner to recruit more riders to help deliver orders.

Clodagh Moriarty, Chief Digital Officer at Sainsbury’s said: “Demand for home delivery has reached unprecedented levels and we are doing all we can to find new ways to serve more of our customers. We are pleased to use our Chop Chop service as an extension of our groceries online offer to enable our customers to quickly get food and other essential items delivered to their homes. While we are starting the trial in London we hope to be able to bring this fast delivery service to other cities in the UK very soon.”

Chop Chop app is back

The on demand service had temporarily closed while the retailer focused all its efforts on stocking stores and its main Groceries Online business. Sainsbury’s has now turned its Blackfriars convenience store, which had temporarily closed, into its first ‘dark’ convenience store for the trial. It’s the first time Chop Chop has operated out of a convenience store.

Sainsbury’s is continuing to prioritise elderly, disabled and vulnerable customers for its Groceries Online delivery slots and over the past two weeks has booked over 320,000 slots for these customers. Sainsbury’s is expanding the capacity of its Groceries Online service as much as possible to serve as many customers as possible and now has the capacity to deliver 472,000 orders a week. The supermarket has also increased Click and Collect slots from 41,000 to almost 100,000 per week.

Bikes deployed for fast urban delivery

Customers who might be self-isolating or unable to get to a local store will be able to order a top up shop of up to 20 grocery products through the Chop Chop app and have them delivered to their doorstep in as little as one hour by ‘fast bikes’.

The offer has been tailored to those staying at home. A refreshed list of around 400 essential grocery and household products are available on the service, offering customers another way to access the essential items that are most important to them quickly and conveniently.

The service is currently available to Londoners living within 3km from Sainsbury’s Blackfriars convenience store but if the offer proves popular with customers, Sainsbury’s will roll the Chop Chop service out to other closed Local stores in cities across the UK as well as London more widely.

Retail Connections Covid


Main photo: Sainsbury’s Press office

Join Retail Connections

Register here

Related insights

One week to go! Eye on innovation – the Retail Technology Show announces new innovation showcases for 2024

The Retail Technology Show announces the shortlist for its 2024 Innovation Awards


Retailers forced to take a lead on tech innovation as tech industry fails to lead the way


2 weeks to go! The Retail Technology Show announces a raft of new special events for 2024

East of England Co-op rolls out Pricer across its full store estate

Join Retail Connections

Get the latest industry views and exclusive member offers sent direct to your mailbox.