SKOKIE, Ill. -- Peapod here announced it plans to offer a new service via its Web site called Peapod Packages -- a page that will add gift and specialty food items to Peapod's dry grocery list, as well as enable the on-line service to fulfill non-perishable grocery orders nationwide.
The on-line service plans to go live with the first phase of the rollout this summer. The second phase of the rollout, which will include the expansion of Peapod's fulfillment of non-perishable grocery items to a nationwide scale, is planned for fall 1999, according to product manager Roberta McKeever.
Peapod currently services eight metropolitan areas across the United States and operates warehouses in the New York, Chicago and San Francisco areas.
The on-line service will integrate selective content onto its new Peapod Packages page, which will offer thousands of household items, including bundles of products targeted at niche occasions, specialty and gourmet foods, menu and recipe fulfillment and food-related information.
McKeever said Greatfood.com, the Seattle-based on-line specialty food retailer, will provide the gourmet food and specialty food items.
"[Peapod Packages] will complement our local grocery delivery business and assist us in building brand awareness on a national scale," said Andrew Parkinson, president and chief executive officer of Peapod.
"[Initially] the Packages offering is more for gifts for special events and holidays," said McKeever. "It is a different category than the dry grocery items."
McKeever said Peapod will not stock Greatfood offerings in their warehouses. Instead, specialty food item orders will be fulfilled by Greatfood suppliers, she said, and shipped via UPS or Federal Express.
"[Peapod Packages] will carry a modified version of Greatfood's Web site within Peapod Packages," McKeever said.
"We feel it's a nice complementary business to our local business," said McKeever. "And we feel that many of our local customers will see the site and say 'Oh, I have to send a gift to so and so,' or they can send a care package to their kid at school. Local customers will have great interest in this."