Publishers and platforms race to enable online grocery shoppers to buy anytime, anywhere

19 feb 2021

Erik Wallin

The race is on. Customers want to shop anytime, anywhere. So publishers and platforms are innovating. Fast.

The most agile platforms are winning. Companies that can adapt fast are better placed to meet customers' changing needs. Successful companies are nearly three times more likely to be agile than companies whose revenue has declined since the pandemic.

From publisher to retailer

Many publishers are moving increasingly towards commerce. Currently, they send their users to checkout at retailers. Is that sustainable? Many think not. Instead, they are moving into becoming retailers themselves. This positions them to own the shopper, the transaction and the data. One example of this is new commerce engine from NBCUniversal and the launch of NBCUniversal Checkout.

Others are innovating through ai generated recipe partnerships. Publishers and platforms are primed for commerce innovations this year. The scale of opportunity for publishers like BuzzFeed and platforms like TikTok to deliver seamless grocery shopping experiences is huge. 

Investing in digital

Grocery retailers are focusing on investing in digital grocery store innovation. Around a third of people who started buying online after the pandemic began plan to continue doing so. As do 52% of people who began shopping online before the pandemic.

There's plenty of scope for innovation here. Blend Tasty, TikTok and Walmart with commerce, e.g. shoppable recipes and suddenly new opportunities arise. Nilla Ali, BuzzFeed SVP of Commerce, for example, this week reported being "bullish on shopping via video."

TikTok and Walmart have already trialed video shopping. In a livestream event, users could buy Walmart clothes within the TikTok app. Watch this space.

Experience is critical

Mark Rogers, VP of Growth at Northfork, points out that the customer experience remains critical:

"Creating the right experiences is essential. So is discoverability. Grocery retailers are moving further up the funnel and publishers are moving into commerce. Customers' expectations need to remain at the heart of this. They need to be able to shop whenever and however they want. That's the future of online grocery retail."