30 July, 2021

Who’s ready to shape the future of online grocery retail?

Louise Taylor

There’s a definite element of preparing for the unknown when it comes to the future of online grocery retail. The latest sector insights from the US provide a mixed picture. The June Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey shows a 23% year-on-year drop in online grocery spend, which fell to $6.8 billion in June 2021. The number of households buying their groceries online dropped 12%.

However, ecommerce firm Rosie’s survey of 5,000 online shoppers found that 80% of them plan to shop online as much or more over the coming year.

Preparing for the unknown

The unknown can be daunting. It can also be an opportunity, providing the chance for retailers with vision to become leaders.

“What is clear about the future of grocery retail is that omnichannel is here to stay,” comments Northfork Co-founder Erik Wallin. “Blending online and offline shopping experiences is essential to meeting consumer demand.”

The growth of click and collect showcases this.

Emerging trends

Ordering online and then collecting your groceries, rather than shopping for them in-store, has become more popular during the pandemic. No surprises there. However, pickup services are still increasing sharply in popularity. 33% of shoppers in June received their online groceries via pickup alone, forgoing delivery entirely. That’s versus 16% who received their shopping exclusively by delivery. Compared to June 2020, the use of pickup services is now 5% higher. Compared to August 2019, it is 23% higher.

Retailers are racing to innovate. Order storage lockers, automated kiosks and tech to cut waiting times… there’s plenty going on.

“Online and offline need to work together to deliver an increasingly smooth shopping experience. It’s about serving multiple needs,” concludes Northfork’s Erik Wallin. “Pickup has a clear role to play in that, as does the online experience that precedes the pickup. The opportunity lies in enhancing that whole package. Omnichannel has to be the focus.”

About the author

Louise Taylor

Louise is Northfork’s editor and is passionate about all things food.