H-E-B and Favor have partnered to bring deliverable groceries to Texas.
H-E-B and Favor have added express delivery options for shoppers who need items quickly. Credit: Courtesy / H-E-B

In response to the demand for no-contact methods of buying groceries, H-E-B and Favor Delivery are expanding their grocery delivery services, officials from the San Antonio-based supermarket chain announced Thursday. 

The new option, which H-E-B has dubbed “express delivery,” will give all customers the choice to have up to 25 grocery items from H-E-B or Central Market stores delivered to their doorstep in two hours or fewer. The local grocery giant has been striving to give customers more options to shop safely throughout the coronavirus pandemic, said Dya Campos, H-E-B’s director of public affairs and governmental affairs.

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The new delivery option, which is available at every H-E-B location and accessible through the Favor app or via the Favor website, will allow customers to get groceries quicker than they would with the grocer’s curbside or home delivery services, Campos said. It’s also no longer limited to seniors (individuals 60 and older), which had been the case for the past few weeks as H-E-B responded to the needs of an older population that was concerned about leaving their home in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The service is currently discounted to a $4.98 delivery fee with a mandatory $10 tip for the “runner” who is acquiring the items.

Since the pandemic began, H-E-B has seen its in-house e-commerce services, available at heb.com, overwhelmed with orders, often leading to weeklong waits for customers seeking a delivery or pickup window. The order backlog prompted a San Antonio software engineer to develop a website that finds the closest service window within a 100-mile radius of the user’s zip code.

“We continue increasing H-E-B Curbside and Home Delivery availability for customers who want to place orders in advance for same day, next day or later — and now, with Express Delivery, Texans can get two-hour delivery on up to 25 items when they need an immediate option,” H-E-B’s chief digital officer and Favor CEO Jag Bath said in a statement.

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated many of the e-commerce initiatives H-E-B was planning to roll out gradually across its stores. Earlier this month, H-E-B and Favor rapidly expanded delivery to provide more Texans with access to on-demand products. During the first week of April, Favor doubled its delivery footprint across Texas by expanding its existing markets and launching 75 new markets, including Kerrville and Lufkin.

While H-E-B, which acquired Favor in 2018, has vastly expanded its e-commerce services over the course of the pandemic, Campos said it remains to be seen which options will stick around after a “new normal” is established.

“We’re still learning,” she said. “Every day we’re going through this process and looking at how we can serve customers better. At this point, it’s too soon to say what the next two weeks look like, much less beyond that.”

Lindsey Carnett

Lindsey Carnett

Lindsey Carnett reports on business and technology for the San Antonio Report.