For some shoppers, a long wait in line at the supermarket may lead them to head out the door. And they don't always make the purchase somewhere else: They may just abandon it altogether.
One-hour curbside pickup is the latest Amazon benefit granted to Whole Foods Market shoppers using the Prime Now app. Getting items to shoppers quickly and more conveniently (not to mention cost-effectively) is where the retail battle is being fought.
Grocery executives are proud of the technological progress their industry has made in recent years, but at the same time, they remain fearful of being left behind.
Older consumers often get short shrift in studies about online shopping behavior because they aren't digital natives like coveted Gen Z and millennials. But it makes sense that older consumers who may not drive or who may have trouble carrying groceries would take advantage of online grocery delivery if they could.
Amazon made waves last year with the acquisition of Whole Foods Market. Despite forays into food and beverage with Amazon Fresh, this was a loud and clear signal that the online retailer was invading the traditional supermarket space as well. And the retailer that solves the logistical issues of getting perishables to shoppers quickly and cost-effectively stands to gain exponentially.
According to Kantar Worldpanel, US online sales of fast-moving consumer goods (excluding fresh food) jumped 29% in 2017 to $20 billion. But part of the reason for the rapid growth is that the US has a lower FMCG ecommerce penetration rate than most other geographic regions.
Even though groceries are still mostly bought in-store, many consumers use digital tools before, during and after a visit to a supermarket. These multiple touchpoints provide opportunities for grocers to engage with shoppers.
Amazon and Walmart have been battling for supremacy in the growing online grocery market, but traditional supermarket chain Kroger is growing too. According to Kroger's fiscal Q1 2018 earnings report, the company's digital sales grew 66% over the prior quarter. Credit was given to ClickList, its buy online, curbside pickup program that's available at Kroger and regional subsidiaries like Dillons, Fred Meyer and Harris Teeter.
It's been one year since Germany-based retailer Lidl debuted in the US, but the deep discounter hasn't quite taken the grocery industry by storm. Still, a study by Oliver Wyman found the company is popular with younger consumers. Those under 45 shop there more often and spend more per visit than older consumers.
In another sign that consumers haven’t fully come around to buying groceries online, a May 2018 survey by Morning Consult reveals that many still prefer to see and touch the products in person.