Grocery shopping has changed dramatically over the last decade, and it will continue to do so as new technologies and stores emerge and capture consumer attention and dollars. eGrocery stores (groceries that are purchased online) have been seeing strong growth, but many traditional grocers are adapting their model to compete with these new trends. Consumers now expect more from their grocery store than ever before including lower prices, frequent discounts, loyalty rewards programs, and convenient delivery options. For the time being many online eGrocery stores focus on specialty food items to help create a specified niche within that market that the brick and mortar stores don’t have access to or cant compete on price for that product.
Grocery Shopping the last 50 years
Since the 1950s, groceries have been purchased from neighborhood or local grocers, who served as an intermediary between the customer and the food manufacturer, distributing food from the manufacturer to the customer’s home. In recent years, this model has been challenged by online retailers such as AmazonFresh and NetGrocer that provide a convenient way to shop for groceries online and then deliver them fresh to your home in an effort to lower costs and increase convenience for consumers.
The eGrocery Experience
The eGrocery shopping experience will continue to improve through the implementation of new technologies that are tailored to the needs of today’s customer, including chatbots that can answer commonly asked questions, Additionally, omnichannel retailing (offering customers the ability to shop both online and in-store) will be ubiquitous across all grocers, offering an even more personalized experience than ever before. This has pushed e-commerce to the forefront for most businesses because they have now realized people want to shop online even without a pandemic going on in the world. Just like any e-comm business you must adapt to what your consumers want, its why many big grocery chains have seen their consumers want this service and why they will need to adapt or be left behind just like any other business that thought this industry wouldn’t change in that way.
But Wait… What Is eGrocery?
eGrocery can be explained in the simplest terms of “shopping online” instead of at “physical grocery store”. With competitive prices that rival brick-and-mortar stores, it only makes sense that more people are jumping on board. While there are still some issues with delivery times and customer satisfaction, most major players aren’t taking long to get on board as it could be the future of this market.
Many supermarkets now offer curbside grocery pickup as an option, especially in big cities where residents might be less likely to own cars. Shoppers can order their groceries online and pick them up outside after they arrive at their destination via Lyft or Uber drivers. One study found 70% of shoppers prefer curbside pickup options even if they own cars because it is easier than lugging heavy groceries home from the store parking lot or unpacking them from a taxi or bus after arriving home.
How The Pandemic Affected online shopping
In recent years, online shopping has made a rapid rise as a convenient alternative to retail shopping. In an increasingly busy world, people have less time for traditional brick-and-mortar retail and e-commerce channels have been quick to capitalize on that. However, after an outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, e-commerce saw a huge spike as people were forced to stay home and most glued to their devices out of sheer boredom.
Technology-Based EGrocer Stores
Established retailers such as Walmart and Target have taken to adapting their stores and providing online grocery shopping to more and more locations. Using RFID, these eGrocery Stores can provide consumers with a unique experience that is more convenient than any other option on the market. Consumers are now seeing that you can have the best of both worlds with online and physical location shopping. That’s just one example of how companies are adopting technology in order to stay competitive in today’s fast-paced eGrocery Industry.
Traditional Grocery Stores Adapting to eGrocery
If you think technology has been changing grocery shopping, just wait until you see what’s coming next. While e-commerce players like Amazon and Walmart grab most of the headlines, traditional grocery chains are adapting by introducing delivery services or partnering with established eGrocery providers. For example, Kroger partnered with Instacart to deliver groceries to customers in select markets across 21 states, and Costco teamed up with DoorDash to offer online ordering for shoppers in Los Angeles. It’s unlikely these initiatives will make a huge impact on sales; instead they act as temporary solutions for grocers who realize they need to adapt before it’s too late.
What’s Next eGrocery Industry?
It’s actually a simple answer, take the level of service you have provided consumers that shop in your physical location and apply that to your online experience. Over the next 5-10 years industry experts believe that all grocery shopping will be done online and you will only go to the physical store if you want to touch or feel some type of new product. Even then most stores will have shipping so precise that you will be able to have your groceries delivered the same day and take back what items you didn’t want at no cost to the consumer. The new online world is all about time and if people can take back an hour or two each week “why wouldn’t you just shop online from the comfort of your home?”