Online purchases of books and gifts are one thing, but groceries are another. At least, they were until recently. Ask around and chances are good that you know someone who skips the supermarket in favor of filling their virtual shopping cart. It’s a trend that seemed unpromising just a few years ago but is now exploding as stores and vendors get smarter about their online offerings.
As grocery e-commerce trends take shape, here are a few of the benefits and challenges that vendors and consumers are facing.
What’s Behind the Growing Trend?
- Convenience. As with most modern consumer tendencies, we want things to be easier. From grocery store pickup to personal delivery, grocery e-commerce meets that standard in every way. What’s more, many vendors offer automated recurring orders, helping consumers simplify their lists and shopping experience.
- Taste. Online grocery shopping trends reflect a growing demand for personalization. Maybe a shopper wants a very specific ingredient but hunting it down on the grocery store shelf every time is too cumbersome. Grocery e-commerce lets him or her search, point and add to his or her cart easily and efficiently.
- Price. It might come as a surprise to some, but smart pricing has helped take grocery e-commerce to the next level. Everything from bulk purchases to searchable deals has practically erased the service charges that might have been a deterrent just a few years ago.
- Speed. And, of course, there’s speed of service — or at least the perception of it. Place an order now and have it delivered within a few hours. The time savings of not cruising crowded aisles and standing in line is in itself a major reason this trend has taken off.
What Are the Challenges Vendors Must Meet?
- Deals. Understandably, some shoppers miss coupon clipping or catching the in-store deals. Vendors and grocery stores have responded by making deal hunting easier to do through online platforms.
- Freshness. You don’t have to be a fresh food specialist to see the challenges of picking the right bananas from a list of thumbnail images. It remains an obstacle for grocery e-commerce vendors, some of whom have experimented with solutions like video feeds or regularly updated photos of produce.
- Logistics. Behind the scenes of online grocery shopping vs. traditional is logistics. How do you ensure that your catalog of merchandise is up to date? How do you confirm everything is where it needs to be for fast, smart purchasing?
- Supply and Demand. As with in-store shopping, aligning supply with demand is tricky, especially when your shopper base is unpredictable. Vendors are meeting that challenge with smarter packaging of meats and other perishables so that they can have products on-hand whenever they are needed.
Grocery delivery trends will continue to morph until consumers find the perfect balance. As they do, it helps to have a food manufacturing and packaging company at your side to ensure you’re nimble enough to meet the challenge. Contact PacMoore to learn more about how we help customers navigate new opportunities in grocery e-commerce.