Category Archives: On-line food shopping

Supermarket “Automation”

Related to recent posts about the trend toward online grocery shopping is a recent SupermarketNews article featuring input from Brick Meets Click co-founder Bill Bishop.

The piece is part of a twice-monthly series in which industry executives, experts and other grocery players share their insights about the news, trends and issues that matter most to retailers and their business partners.

In this installment, which also includes a Podcast, Bishop lists five ways that automation will impact grocery retail, which include:

  • Supermarkets will become more productive and, in turn, more competitive
  • A more educated and/or engaged and productive workforce will be attracted to food retailing
  • Automated order selection systems will replace or reduce self-service retailing
  • Technical breakthroughs will drive significantly lower retail costs
  • Customers will see a more personalized shopping experience.

“The world around us is changing very rapidly. Consumers are using digital aggressively, and it’s changing their expectations. Of course, that’s particularly strong among younger shoppers. Beyond that, competition is putting significant pressure on margins today. This automation technology is a way to maintain profitability,” Bishop said.

“Now we see automation stepping in with the opportunity to replace large sections of the supermarket,” he later explained. “That automation is able to operate in a much smaller footprint, and there’s significantly higher productivity.”

Read the full article/listen to Podcast…

Demand for Home Delivery of Groceries Continues to Spread

As you may know, “If you build it, they will come” is a phrase popularized in a sports movie. But the concept might also apply to the grocery business as the following developments indicate.

According to a recent SupermarketNews article, Uber Technologies Inc. announced plans to acquire majority ownership of Cornershop, a leading online grocery provider in Mexico and Canada. The acquisition is planned for early 2020, subject to regulatory approval.

“Whether it’s getting a ride, ordering food from your favorite restaurant, or soon, getting groceries delivered, we want Uber to be the operating system for your everyday life,” said Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO, Uber. “We’re excited to partner with the team at Cornershop to scale their vision, and look forward to working with them to bring grocery delivery to millions of consumers on the Uber platform.”

The Cornershop app or website enables customers to order groceries for delivery. Cornershop employees then go to participating grocery stores to pick and pack their orders. Customers are called at the end of each shop, and they can approve any replacements or request another item to be added to the cart.

In another report, Giant Food of Landover, Md., a chain of 163 supermarkets in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Washington, D.C. announced the launch of an enhanced service they call “Giant Delivers.”

This refreshed version of a previous delivery program is part of Giant Food’s “The Little Things Are Giant” platform, “which is all about helping customers save time so they can get back to what matters most.”

The article went on to say that next-day home delivery from Giant Delivers is now available to over 6 million shoppers living in over 300 ZIP codes across the Washington, D.C., metro area. Same-day delivery is available within the downtown D.C. area, “offering a new way to fit shoppers’ busy schedules, especially those needing a last-minute ingredient or dinner solution.”

Giant’s grocery delivery service is available without commitment or subscription and offers customers the option to sign up anytime for unlimited deliveries for a one-time annual fee of $99, making weekly grocery delivery orders more convenient and affordable than ever, the article said.

Clearly the call for online grocery shopping options coupled with the convenience of quick home delivery continues to increase… and more supermarkets as well as related businesses are stepping-up to meet the demand.

New Level of Customer Service Goes “Beyond” Home Delivery of Groceries

Walmart is expanding the online grocery shopping experience by going “beyond” home delivery. According to a recent SupermarketNews article, certain Walmart stores are delivering groceries not just to more homes, but also inside them.

This new service will be launching in the fall when associates will deliver groceries right to a customer’s refrigerator, or to other designated areas inside shoppers’ homes, such as garages or pantries. Various methods are incorporated into the process to ensure security and to allow customers to actually view the delivery from remote locations.

“Online grocery remains a meaningful contributor to e-commerce growth,” Walmart’s Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs is quoted to say in the article. “Customers continue to really appreciate our grocery pickup and delivery offerings as we scale them across the U.S., …they want product faster than ever before, and Walmart is the best-positioned in the industry to deliver grocery same-day.”

E-Commerce Challenges for Supermarkets

A recent Wall Street Journal article reported that E-commerce is transforming the grocery business, “bringing-about the need to overhaul operations and invest heavily in technology and talent to keep customers from straying to Amazon.com Inc. ”

“Not since Walmart Inc. first pushed into groceries in the late 1980s have traditional chains faced so many challenges,” the article states.

As an example, Kroger, a long-term, consistently successful chain, stayed focused on store sales long after competitors were investing in online-ordering technology and delivery services. But, according to the article, company leadership has recognized they are behind and have crafted a plan for more rapid transition to keep up with consumer preferences.

The article goes on to note that few American retailers have managed the online transition smoothly, citing early struggles experienced by Target and Walmart before improving their e-commerce operations, and the demise of Sears Holdings Corporation and Toys “R” Us in 2018.

This perspective is consistent with that of our previous post, noting that, while still in growth mode, the on-line grocery shopping experience requires improvement. It will be interesting to see how Kroger and other traditional chains address the emerging demand for online shopping while still satisfying the more traditional demand for low prices as well as a “unique” in-store shopping experience.

Online Grocery Shopping Growing But Needs Improvement

The latest research from Valassis was referenced in a recent SupermarketNews article, noting two interesting discoveries about the online grocery shopping experience.

  1. 68% of online grocery shoppers say that using coupons and discounts to save money is the most important factor when shopping
  2. The online grocery shopping experience still has room for improvement

According to the study, 63% of consumers still make all or most of their food purchases in-store. But online shopping has increased year over year by 44% for food; 40% for health and beauty products; and 38% for household items.

Among the greatest opportunities for improvement:

  • 64% of online shoppers miss the sensory experience of touching and smelling produce
  • 62% find it frustrating when they can’t use coupons or discounts
  • 62% are uncomfortable having someone else pick out their produce or other perishable items

Read the full article…

More Groceries from Amazon in 2019?

According to a recent SupermarketNews article, it will be easier to order food, groceries and medications from Amazon.com as the new year unfolds.

The prediction is based on a report from e-commerce specialist Edge.

“2019 could be the start of when grocery finally hits for Amazon,” Edge said in its analysis. “The e-tail giant’s grocery sales swelled 45% in 2018, yet that was less than the nearly 60% growth in 2016-2017. Amazon’s top grocery categories by sales in 2018 were cold beverages ($600 million, +35% year over year), coffee ($600 million, +40%), snacks ($300 million, +50%) and breakfast foods ($250 million, +15%). “

While the article went on to say that Amazon in still a long-way off from where they’d like to be in the food and grocery sector, their expansion will involve the addition of more Whole Foods and Amazon Go stores.

Read the full article…

Walmart Setting the Pace for Online Grocery?

Our previous post indicated that Amazon was the clear leader in online grocery shopping. However, a recent SupermarketNews article said that “Walmart’s heavy investment in e-commerce is paying off, and the retail giant could top Amazon in online grocery market share by the end of this year.”

The data was based on a Deutsche Bank Securities report, which said Walmart  had been shifting focus and growth strategies in the direction of e-commerce, and that the chain has plans to bring online grocery delivery to 100 metropolitan areas — covering 40% of U.S. households — by the end of 2018 through its own services and third-party providers.

Read the full article…

Kroeger Introduces Kroger Ship

The trend toward on-line grocery shopping continues, as The Kroger Co. has introduced a new service that will compete directly with Amazon, Walmart and on-line grocery delivery providers like Instacart and Shipt according to a recent SupermarketNews article.

Kroger Ship, a direct-to-customer e-commerce platform that enables consumers to order from a selection of groceries on-line and have them delivered to their home is now being tested in four markets: Cincinnati; Houston; Louisville, Ky.; and Nashville, Tenn.

On-line shoppers can select from 4,500 Kroger own-brand products as well as more than 50,000 center store groceries and household essentials.

Home delivery via Kroger Ship is free for orders over $35 and costs $4.99 for smaller orders.

Read the full article…

Forbes Was Right: 4 Ways Your Grocery Store Might Change this Year

This past December Forbes published an article suggesting we should expect to see more changes at the grocery store this year as the industry adapts to various competitive pressures and emerging shopping habits.

“The last year has been a trying one for supermarkets that face not only changing technology and consumer demands but heightened competition on price,” the article said.

The article predicted four key trends for 2018, which were:

  1. More online shopping options
  2. Mobile payment acceptance
  3. Meal kits
  4. In-store drinking and dining

At the half-way-or-so point, it seems these predictions are on track. And clearly all four predictions focus on improving processes as well as customer service and the shopping experience!

Guess we can all stay-tuned to see if these trends continue…

 

Martin’s Supermarkets Expands On-line Shopping

According to a recent Business Briefs article, Martin’s Super Markets, a mid-west chain, is continuing to roll out of its online shopping service, which they call Groceries To Go, and which is now available at 12 of their 21 stores.

The Groceries-To-Go service costs $4.99 per order, the article explains. The process is also straightforward, as once users go online or download the app (on either iPhone or Android devices) and create an account they simply shop and choose a pickup time, and then pay. Someone at their chosen store then sends an email confirming receipt of the order, and then sends another email when the order is ready for pickup.

To pickup their order, customers simply park in designated areas and then text or call to announce their arrival. A “Personal Shopper” then brings the groceries and loads them into the customer’s vehicle.

Pharmacy prescriptions, alcohol and tobacco products are not available for online ordering, the article said. Log on to www.martinsgroceriestogo.com for more information.

The trend toward online shopping and an enhanced customer experience continues…