eCommerce Insiders

Online Grocery Shopping: Eager Fans and the Industry Players

As more consumers become accustomed to purchasing just about everything they need online, it comes as no surprise that retailers are creating ways for shoppers to conduct their grocery shopping online, too.

Below are the most common reasons why shoppers are ditching the brick and mortar carts on wheels in favor of online food and dry good deals:

No Need To Leave Home: Shoppers schedules are busy, and sometimes, there’s far more things to do than there are hours in a day. That becomes a problem when grocery supplies start running low, and tasks on the to-do list simply can’t be rescheduled.

Online grocery shopping can be performed at all hours of the day or night. In many cases, online grocery shopping conducted early enough in the day can be set for same-day delivery (as the Amazon Prime Now service allows for). Even if the groceries are ordered in the middle of the night, the delivery can be scheduled for first thing in the morning, and the time-strapped consumer will never have to worry about leaving home.

Better Variety Of Inventory: Retailers stock their shelves according to priorities such as how fast they can move product off the shelves, and whether or not there’s a strong desire for the product.

That means that an obscure or rare (international) grocery product might not make it on to local store shelves. The same is true for grocery products that cater to niche/unique dietary requirements.

The solution is for the shopper to order their unique groceries and dry goods online. They’ll never have to worry about missing out on a product, and they can be certain that their product will always be fresh (because it’s not becoming stale or rancid on a retail store shelf).

Value Pricing: Groceries and dry goods experience extremely high mark-ups to cover the costs of transportation, retail space, and advertising. When consumers shop for products online, retailers can skip many traditional associated fees and pass the savings on to the customers.

Value pricing also leads to store brand loyalty, especially when the online grocer incentivizes the  shopper’s buying experience with discount membership programs, and coupons.

Targeted Financial Spending: It’s all too easy for grocery shoppers to spend more money than they intended during their outings. For starters, they often need to spend money on fuel for their cars. In fact, many savvy grocery outlets have included gas pumps on their store properties-the fuel purchase allows the company to realize another revenue stream.

Then, if they perform grocery shopping during lunch or dinner (especially if they’re traveling with children), then they feel compelled to drive by a fast-food restaurant.

Responding to this, many grocers have equipped their store locations with fast food eating establishments ranging from pre-packaged heat-and-eat foods, salads, sandwiches, and even, full-scale food courts.

This allows the grocer to keep as much spending inside (and on) the property as possible.

And if all of these didn’t tempt the shopper to spend more money than they originally intended, then they’ll be certainly be tempted by impulse purchases located on the end caps and at the cash registers. For example, if they notice certain items on sale, they’ll often add the sale items to their baskets, even if the purchases weren’t originally on the list!

Elderly and Disabled People Can Shop with Ease: The elderly often require assistance to perform their grocery shopping, and for some, the assistance isn’t available, or it’s not affordable. The same often holds true for the chronically disabled.

Both segments of shoppers can experience the safety, ease, and dignity of receiving all of their groceries by ordering them (or having a trusted person order them) online.

Privacy: Let’s face it-although grocery retailers have come a long way in offering a wide variety of personal health goods, there will always be products that consumers would rather purchase in private! Ordering these products online allows the shopper to preserve their modesty and dignity.

Who Are The Industry Players?

There are two groups of industry players in the online grocery shopping space

  • Already established brick and mortar brands that are making the switch to eCommerce
  • Dedicated eCommerce grocers

Here’s a peek at a couple of dedicated eCommerce grocery providers:

Peapod: This brand offers warehouse-to-residential (as well as warehouse-to-business) delivery service in select markets across the U.S. The company specializes in offering cooked meals, natural and organic produce (some delivered fresh from partner orchards), high-quality meats, and seafood.

The service is available via a structured membership program. The membership fees vary according to the shopper’s zip code. The service isn’t currently available for deliver in all zip codes.

Thrive Market:: According to the website:

Thrive Market is the first socially conscious online store offering the world’s best-selling natural and organic products at wholesale prices. We carry over 2,500 of the highest quality food, supplements, home, personal care, and beauty products from over 400 of the best brands on the market, all delivered straight to your door at 25-50% off retail prices. Our mission is to make health living easy, affordable, and accessible for every American family.

Shoppers are invited to try the service free for the first 30 days, then they’re expected to pay a $59.95 annual membership fee if they decide to continue using the service.

Some of the brick and mortar locations that are adding online grocery shopping services include Walmart, and Target. Mashable created a comprehensive list of 50 places for shoppers to buy groceries online.

Although online grocery shopping is a late entry into the ecommerce industry, it’s one of the fastest growing, and it shows no signs of stopping in the near future.

Terri Scott

Terri is a content marketing storyteller and strategist. She teaches marketing and entrepreneurship through stories for marketers of all stripes. Her specialty is creating narrative and she writes essays and memoir in her spare time.

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