As consumers gravitated to the convenience and safety of e-commerce channels in 2020, online grocery orders grew 54%, and 43% of consumers tried curbside pickup for the first time. This shift in behavior is a testament to the evolving role of brick-and-mortar stores and the importance of an omnichannel approach to commerce. With online grocery projected to be over $187B by 2024, brands are now scrambling to reprioritize channel strategies into digital stores and marketplaces.
A customer-centric approach is essential
To ensure that customers have every purchasing option available, retailers and brands must take an omnichannel approach, investing in both retail operations and advertising. It’s important to reduce friction for shoppers; out-of-stock notices, high service fees, and long delivery times can tarnish a customer’s experience and dissuade them from using online services in the future.
The ultimate challenge: Supply chain
Customers now expect delivery times that are faster than ever, straining supply chains. Additionally, limitations brought on by COVID proved that customers will shift loyalty when confronted with delays and move from trusted retailers to new providers who can fulfil their needs. Traditional grocery is already challenged by low-profit margins, antiquated technologies, data transparency, and storage issues. The hurdle of last-mile delivery is an added obstacle.
Luckily, back-end operations are evolving to combat those challenges and there are a few ways that retailers can pivot to stay ahead of disruption:
- Investment in just-in-time data tools to meet customer demand
- Robotic solutions embedded within store operations (replacing store shoppers)
- Multiple fulfilment and warehousing solutions to meet omnichannel needs
Grocery purchases are on the brink of becoming truly omnichannel, with customers purchasing in-store and online interchangeably. Our latest guide Industry Outlook: Online Grocery breaks down everything you need to know to build an airtight digital grocery strategy and how to amplify it through advertising media channels.