Grocery cyber shopping just got fresher. Albertsons.com today launched its new in-store pick-up service at 36 Albertson’s stores throughout Western Washington.

The service makes the brick-and-mortar grocer the first to offer online shoppers the convenience of picking up pre-paid groceries at dozens of neighborhood retail locations, adding value and variety to the online shopping experience.

Shoppers simply visit www.albertsons.com, build their basket, select the desired pick-up location, and pay for their purchase with a credit card. Online purchases made by 10 a.m. will be ready after 5 p.m. the same day, and orders placed by midnight can be picked up by noon the next day. The pick-up service is free with orders exceeding $5 (otherwise a pick-up fee of $5.95 is applied). Since all orders are pre-paid and packed, consumers simply proceed to the in-store pick-up counter without having to wait in line at the checkout stand.

“Customer service is the hallmark of Albertson’s, which means providing options,” said Jenny Enochson, corporate manager of community relations for Albertsons.com. “With the addition of our in-store pick-up service, our shoppers have the luxury of customizing that experience to fit their lifestyle. Albertson’s wants the customer to have a choice, whether it’s shopping online and choosing between home delivery or in-store pick-up, or getting groceries the old-fashioned cart-and-basket way.”

Enochson also points out that the pick-up service allows a convenience new to online shopping: last minute additions. When picking up their groceries, consumers can browse for items they may have forgotten or run out of since ordering online. In the meantime, their groceries are kept in appropriate storage to ensure freshness.

As Albertsons.com’s latest offering, the pick-up feature is an extension of its online delivery service.

Gomez.com, on online evaluator of e-commerce sites, recently ranked Albertsons.com first in terms of overall cost and second in overall score within its Internet grocery services scorecard. The results were based on an evaluation of hundreds of sites that sell food goods online.

Albertson’s opened its first grocery store in 1939. Founder Joe Albertson changed the rules in the grocery business by introducing then unheard of services like a scratch bakery, magazine racks and homemade ice cream. The operation of his first store was based on the principles of providing high quality, good value and excellent service to every customer. Sixty years later, those same principles continue to guide the operation of every Albertson store. Albertson’s, Inc. is one of the largest retail food and drug chains in the United States. Based in Boise, Idaho, the Company currently operates almost 2,500 retail stores in 37 states across the United States.