Grocery ecommerce post-COVID: Do I still need it?
July 19, 2021
There’s no denying the pandemic supercharged the adoption of ecommerce for independent grocers. Something that many retailers thought might be a “nice to have someday” became an overnight lifesaver for their business as fewer and fewer people were going grocery shopping in person. But as the “new normal” slowly starts to feel just like normal again, retailers who still haven’t adopted ecommerce may be wondering if online shopping is worth investing in. For those retailers with or without ecommerce, Rosie is shining a light on the future of online grocery shopping and why it is an absolute need post-COVID.
The data is clear: 80% of Americans plan to continue grocery shopping online the same amount or more in the next 12 months. The reality is, most consumers who used online ordering, picking, and delivery services for the first time during the pandemic have come to depend on convenience and reliability. It’s projected that in the next couple of years grocery ecommerce usage will stay the course and reach 55% of all US consumers by the end of 2024.
As online ordering becomes more popular and normalized, independent retailers who don’t offer will seem behind the times and customers will choose to shop with competitors. And even though Instacart may be grabbing all the headlines, the reality is that 65% of online grocery shoppers are buying directly from their local grocer instead of going through an ordering system app. It’s also clear that COVID isn’t the only reason customers now order online - 59% of customers cite “saving time” as their reason for ordering online. Plus the 20% who report difficulty getting to a grocery store represents those shoppers with disabilities, childcare needs, irregular work hours, and seniors who can’t get to the store themselves, and rely on this service. Those that depend on this convenient option won’t simply start coming into your store, they’ll choose to shop with another retailer entirely.
The reasons for adopting and retaining ecommerce for your grocery store aren’t entirely customer focused - there’s also plenty of benefits for the retailer. For one thing, customers who shop online have larger basket sizes than in-store shoppers. Even between digital ordering systems, at Rosie we’ve found that conversion is 3x higher on mobile than desktop.
But one of the greatest advantages of the right ecommerce system is the tools that make your business better. In 2021 data is king in every industry, and grocery is no exception. Data reports like those from Rosie Data Analytics can be essential to understanding trends in your business and customer behavior to better inform your marketing and strategy. Ecommerce tools also alleviate staffing pressures. Offering online ordering through Cater for your signature prepared foods means your employees don’t have to spend time taking orders over the phone that take them away from other customers. Integrations like a point of sale order integration (POSOI) will free up checkout lanes in-store because customers can complete purchases online.
Some aspects of our daily lives may be returning to pre-COVID routines, but many things are forever changed - grocery ecommerce is one of them. Independent retailers who want to retain and attract customers, grow their sales, and innovate their business practices won’t be able to do all of these things at once without ecommerce. Now that grocery shopping online is part of the post-pandemic “new normal,” it’s time for these retailers to get on board.