The Pandemic Push
The Covid-19 pandemic has transformed the growth of e-commerce, spurring the popularity of online drive-throughs at supermarkets around Australia.
Online ordering for supermarkets has risen from approximately 5% to 15% over the last 2-3 years, a trend that is only projected to increase. The hybrid shopping models, which allow consumers to place orders online and collect their purchases at a designated time, have now become a standard feature at major supermarkets where customers prioritise convenience, efficiency, safety and reliability.
Post pandemic, supermarkets have seen drive-through online retail sales more than double compared to pre-pandemic years, as consumers take advantage of their flexible working arrangements to utilise the drive-through model.
Designing for a Drive-Through Site
Consumer uptake of the drive-through model has driven the need for supermarkets to incorporate design features into new stores and upgrade existing facilities to accommodate the drive-through service.
Although drive-through design features will differ at each site, these services are typically located towards the rear of the facility and near the loading area to allow for easy and safe consumer access, as opposed to the front-of-house areas where pedestrian connectivity and movement is extremely important.
Designing online drive-throughs within an existing facility can be challenging where built form, vehicle access points and car parking have been previously designated. In these instances, a transport consultant can assist in retrofitting the design of the online drive-through to ensure it is operationally sound and accessible. It may also include justifying the loss of existing car parking spaces, identifying underutilised areas and facilitating access to a new drive-through collection area.
The Customer Journey
The customer journey remains a priority for supermarket retailers and transport consultants can assist in the drive-through parking design area, with groupings of four to six parking spaces typically sought in a double tandem arrangement to avoid the need to undertake reverse movements. These spaces are typically wider and longer than an average car space to allow convenient access to the spaces and provide safe pedestrian pathways for staff to load goods into each vehicle.
For existing facilities with spatial constraints, it’s possible to develop standard 90-degree parking spaces with perpendicular parking access against the wall building wall. These sites require good sight distance, appropriate signage and pedestrian line marking treatments to achieve a safe design outcome given the need for reversing movements.
Delivering the (design) goods
Online drive-throughs must be operationally sound with adequate space for user accommodation, including pedestrian pathway access and clear signage. Furthermore, the design must not compromise the functionality of a site where existing car spaces might be lost to an upgraded design.
In instances whereby on-site car parking spaces are required to be removed to provide an upgraded online drive-through facility, a car parking demand assessment can be undertaken to support the loss of car parking by understanding the current utilisation levels within each site,
With the demand for online drive-throughs facilities only increasing throughout the retail sector, Ratio Consultants have experience retrofitting existing facilities and designing new developments, offering full-service advice from consultation to delivery.
Reach out to Ratio’s transport team with any questions about developing an online drive-through for your facility ‒ our multidisciplinary expertise enables us to consider all aspects of a proposed development, guiding the provision of these services in a manner that provides net community benefit.