Online shopping is no longer a trend, but another path for retail success. Companies like Amazon cater specifically to online shoppers and retailers like Target, Walmart and Best Buy have seamlessly married online shopping to their brick and mortar business models. Especially in the consumer electronics space, online retail has boomed due to its unparalleled convenience. Ordering products from the comfort of your home or from a mobile device while on the go is just one of the many benefits of the e-commerce space. After ordering, items are quickly delivered to your doorstep and smart retailers have created further opportunity for customer loyalty with subscriptions that include pre-paid return labels or in-store return options.
To the Grocery Aisle
Where does online shopping go from here? To the grocery store, of course! There is a huge opportunity to expand the grocery business model. Online grocers offer a variety of personalized services. Shoppers can pick what items they want from a large selection of both brand name and generic offerings and someone from the grocer staff completes the shopping in the store. The items are local and fresh, not being shipped from hundreds of miles away. Groceries can be picked up at the store or delivered to the shopper’s doorstep based on what is most convenient. If delivery is selected, cold items are kept cold in specialized reusable containers.
Amazon has already jumped into the space with Amazon Fresh, Prime Now and other online options such as Instacart and Google Express are also vying for those online grocery dollars. Kroger, Walmart and Target stores have similar programs, with most of these providers offering same-day delivery or same day in-store pick up.
The Need Grows
The need for online grocery is expanding. While the numbers may be small now, there has been a sizable and noticeable uptick in demand for the service, especially among Millennials.
“Of 1,000 U.S. adults surveyed, 7 percent of all shoppers said they order groceries weekly online. But that figure climbs to 14 percent for parents, 12 percent for Millennials and 15 percent for Millennials with children, according to the Valassis 2K18 Coupon Intelligence Report…” – Supermarket News
Additionally, an article by Forbes dives deeper into the numbers. The grocery business is a $1 trillion industry and the article notes that Nielsen is forecasting that 70 percent of U.S. shoppers could be buying groceries online by as early as 2022. So, while the current numbers are a small percentage of the total $1 trillion business, it is growing and expected to rise rapidly over the next four years.
Be Ready for What’s Next
Grocery retailers need to be poised and ready for this change. Big names are already or have already ramped up for this burgeoning phase of the grocery cycle. Amazon bought Whole Foods, giving it both an online and brick-and-mortar presence. Target and Kroger are expanding their offerings as well.
If they don’t want to get left behind, regional stores and smaller providers should get on board now to be competitive in this emerging market. Offering something unique could be a good way for grocers to set themselves apart from the crowd. In-store pick-up, same-day delivery and rushed delivery options are all a must. Stores might even want to partner with brands to offer next-level service.
Online grocery shopping is here to stay and will only grow with time. National, regional and local grocers need to take notice now. As demand grows, so will the competition, so providers need to find unique ways to get into the game and stand out—today.
Authored by Reza Farhangi, Director of Strategic Initiatives for PriceSpider
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