Hy-Vee has a new two-hour “Get it Faster” grocery pickup option for $9.95.
The new option requires a $30 minimum. Orders can be picked up daily between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
The number of two-hour express slots available per store is limited and varies by store, but Hy-Vee has more overall slots than it had before the express option was announced, the company said. Hy-Vee has also expanded its online product assortment with more choices from bakery, cosmetics, beauty and lawn and garden.
“E-commerce is evolving so fast,” said Randy Edeker, Hy-Vee’s chief executive, in an interview last month. “Customers are moving to ‘I want groceries in two hours and same-day pickup.’ ”
The pickup service Aisles Online is free with a $30 minimum purchase if shoppers do not pick the two-hour window.
In March, Hy-Vee announced it was closing its four fulfillment centers for online orders, including one in Eagan, because customers wanted their groceries picked from the same store where they shop.
Hy-Vee’s new pickup-express option follows similar pickup or delivery choices from national competitors such as Amazon, Walmart and H-E-B.
Target offers free pickup or drive-up, but its online fresh grocery options are limited.
Availability for pickup and delivery time slots that customers want are not guaranteed, as many supermarket customers have discovered. Since COVID-19 began, consumers have experienced delays from days to more than a week to get their order as volume has improved fivefold or more.
Other local stores are also adjusting and expanding pickup and delivery options to meet demand.
Cub charges $2 to $4 for pickup, depending on the amount of the order with the first one free. A $99 “Express Membership” allows customers free pickup and delivery for a year for orders more than $35.
To improve the chances of getting an order filled within two hours, Cub suggests customers consider several pickup locations. A Cub spokesman said that the stores are adding shoppers to pick orders and increase the number of available times for pickup and delivery.
Lunds & Byerlys charges $4.95 for all pickup orders, including two-hour lead times when available. It also sells subscriptions that provide unlimited pickup orders for a year for $90. On Friday morning, Lunds had times available for late afternoon and evening. Two-hour lead-time pickups, if available, must be placed before 3 p.m.
Kowalski’s used to pull from two stores for its deliveries. Now it pulls from 11 stores, and staffing to pull orders has quadrupled, said spokeswoman Laurie Bell.
West Des Moines-based Hy-Vee operates 12 stores in the Twin Cities and 260 in the eight-state Midwestern region.