OMNI Channel Grocery Shopping is No Longer a, ‘Nice to Have’– Part One of a Two Part Series

Fact: Customers demand convenience…convenience dictates choice….choice mandates Omni channel shopping options. (store/mobile/web). If you do not offer Omni channel options for pick up/delivery, your customers will go somewhere else because it is all about convenience. Convenience is one of the few factors that will trump price and loyalty.
Fact: The customer that shops across channels is over 5X more valuable on an annual basis. In urban areas, the average online order is between $85-$115 dollars and in suburban areas, the average online order is over $150. Cannibalization is a myth. Don’t fall for it.
Fact: Many brick and mortar grocers are eroding at .5% a year due to online competition as well as new retailers encroaching in their brick and mortar space, by offering grocery and fresh items, even produce.

Fact: Programs with high produce inverted pymamids, like, “Fitly”, the newest competitor in the marketplace, aggregates plant based ingredients that just need assembly, while leveraging potential retailer produce waste with collaborative efforts.
Ms Smith is on the train. On her mobile phone, she sees that her trusted grocer doesn’t offer online shopping. Undaunted, she searches and finds a company that will deliver her food. She reads content, ratings and reviews and recommendations, forgoing her loyalty points. The groceries arrive and Ms. Smith realizes she forgot something and the grocer made a mistake in her order. She stops at her local grocer to pick up just the forgotten/damaged items. She leaves customer feedback through a link on the website to OpinionLab. Her online order was $149. Her incidentals in the store were $22.

Weeks later, she searches her laptop and finds a company that will deliver…again… her need for convenience high, but concerned about produce integrity, she picks another company and orders, leaving her local grocer who she has come to trust, in the dust. In her last order, her lettuce was soggy and her tomatoes bruised. Her groceries arrive and the produce is fresh and cool. Her groceries total $155. Days later, she returns to her local grocer and spends $33.

The six steps to Omni channel build out and success always work:
l. Executive Engagement– allocating the cap ex to build an online experience, from web to technology; filtering enterprise OMNI as a major goal and supporting through all areas of the company as an integrated effort are mandated.

2. Using the Science of ROI and analytics to drive prioritization of the build and efforts.
3. IT engagement modeling, transparency and planning for the enterprise for the initiative and facilitating the integration of all channels of sales.
4. Operations/Business planning/Employee Engagement Engine (EEE)- proper planning once prioritized, project management, team building, engagement of the store operations teams.
5. Marketing– Online shopping is a marketing driven business and involves the use of many tactics not currently used for traditional brick and mortar stores.
6. Customer Centricity – a single view of the customer across all shopping channels – the, “Holy Grail”.
The major challenges for grocers ready to offer online/mobile ordering or struggling with an existing online business will be discussed in the next article. Stay Tuned to learn about the challenges and how to mitigate them!

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Heidi Chapnick

Heidi Chapnick

Being passionate about ‘fresh’ food is who we are. Some of us volunteered, feeding the hungry and got interested in all the waste in this country, always wondering how to make things better for our hungry masses and keeping it, "fresh". We also feel for the growers who are scrambling to sell their products and keep them fresh and the retailers who keep us fed. Working with all channels of sales and from seedling to table, it gives us the ability to assist with making sure the integrity of fresh items remains, keeping food borne illnesses and cross contamination at bay for happy growers, shippers, retailers and shoppers.