FROM NICHE TO NEED IT TODAY
The BOSS Magazine|April 2021
Once viewed as ‘nice to haves,’ amenities like online ordering and curbside pickup are redefining the grocery shopping experience.
Anne-Frances Hutchinson

If 2020 was the year of unceasing disruption in the grocery industry, 2021 will most certainly continue the trend. “This recovery will not be a straight path,” according to Bain analysts. “Companies will advance where they can, retreat when they must, often simultaneously, then adapt and start again.”

When news of a vaccine broke, the anecdotal outlook for online grocery shuddered in anticipation of a return to the before times. Spoiler alert: We’re not returning to the before times, which may be very good news for companies investing in systems and technology to support the pandemic-driven growth of online ordering and grocery delivery.

“Despite only 3% of grocery dollars coming from online, sales are expected to triple and reach $74 billion by 2023,” according to CPG industry marketing and research firm Acosta. “Millennials are spending the largest portion of their grocery budget online today, and we expect it to grow across generations in coming years. Thirty percent of current grocery pickup shoppers noted they plan to use the service more often in the future—led by those who currently only rarely utilize the offering.”

In 2018, Kroger, the country’s biggest grocery retailer, led the charge toward a seamless online shopping experience with the launch of Kroger Ship. A 2020 partnership with digital marketplace innovator Mirakl launched their integration into a ship-to-home marketplace model designed to expand selection while making shopping more convenient.

“Our customers are increasingly turning to our e-commerce solutions provided at Kroger.com for their grocery and household essential needs,” said Kroger’s group VP of product experience, Jody Kalmbach. “To better serve our customers, we’re continuing to invest in technology that enables us to expand our digital services to deliver anything, anytime, anywhere.”

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