The convenience of online shopping is not being forgotten in the food market. Online grocery sales grew to 26.5% last year, compared with only 3.1% for the grocery market (online and offline) as a whole, according to Internet Retailer data. And that growth doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Brick Meets Click (BMC) and MyWebGrocer project a 13% compound annual growth rate for online grocery sales through 2022, excluding effects of inflation, based on their May consumer survey of 4,855 U.S. adults. The rapid growth of online grocery sales compared with those of groceries sold in stores and competition from online retail giant Amazon.com are two of the driving factors in grocery chains and others investing in e-commerce.
On a national level, Amazon and Walmart are two of the dominant players when it comes to online food sales and all growth shows that they will be for some time. With Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, they now represent half of all growth in online food sales during 2017, according to Internet Retailer data. Walmart is quickly making moves to become a true threat to their success and pushing the needle when it comes to their online grocery experience for customers. As a local grocer, your opportunity to excel in the digital space is still very much there if you make moves smart and swift.
A huge undertaking, but this will make or break your digital offering. A couple key items to have teams execute strongly on include:
This should be a main focus in your digital strategy. Growth in online grocery sales will largely be driven by your existing customers who already trust in your brand (at least in the beginning), so understanding those customers personas and being able to meet their expectations is imperative.
Enticing customers to move to your online platform falls under marketing. Providing coupons and other discounts on frequently purchased items, offering free shipping on non-perishable items, free local delivery on orders above a certain dollar amount, or introducing meal kits online are all potential strategies to consider in your marketing plan.
By taking the time to better understand how your customer shops, what they tend to purchase online and when, and taking the steps to make their interaction with your brand as easy as possible will help keep your brand at the forefront of local grocers.