The demand for omnichannel grocery e-commerce has been fueled by the pandemic, especially consumers’ desire for convenience. According to a recent McKinsey report, click-and-collect and delivery orders have increased by around 50% during the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts predict that grocery e-commerce will double in the next five years.
To meet this demand and consumer expectations, grocers will need to invest in the right forward-looking technology to scale omnichannel offerings to meet customer needs. However, while omnichannel e-commerce continues to provide additional convenience to consumers, profitability remains a challenge for food retailers. Delivery costs and the costs of in-store picking and other operations can be very high if not properly optimized for scale and profitability.
With that in mind, here’s a look at five strategies that can help grocers optimize their online grocery integration.
1. A truly flexible modular platform.
This digital transformation that grocers are experiencing has been sudden and massive. Shoppers are used to the comfort and convenience of shopping from anywhere, anytime, on any device. Spoiled for choice, customers are so accustomed to consuming content and making purchases across different channels that traditional merchants struggle to define nimble and modern digital strategies to add value and build brand loyalty.
Modular platforms may be the answer grocers are looking for. This type of platform can help grocers provide customers with a seamless shopping experience even as their preferences keep changing. It offers grocers the ability to customize their digital offering with the ability to choose their preferred front-end solution provider. Since each module handles different functions and operates independently, retailers can update and publish content to a variety of channels more easily without developers needing to make changes to the underlying platform. .
It also allows grocers to complement their existing technology stack with multiple third-party apps as needed to enhance the most important elements of their online grocery experience, including payment gateway, AI-based product recommendations , grocery-specific shopping cart options, multimedia content, consumer loyalty programs, support and contact methods, and more.
2. Provide a smooth and efficient customer experience.
Consumers are always looking for efficiencies that can save them time, effort and money. To gain a competitive advantage and build loyalty, grocers will need to offer online customer experiences that are simple, fast and intuitive. This means enabling consumers to create simple shopping lists, access detailed product information, use effective search tools to find products and prices, and experience seamless navigation. intuitive on the site.
For an online grocery platform to be worth its salt, consumers must be able to easily find the products they want and the information they need to make a purchase. Unlike large retailers, grocers must offer their customers the possibility of choosing their products not only in units, but also in volume and weight. Depending on the region, they may need to add quantity limits, age restrictions, product origins and possible allergens.
Another essential aspect of the customer experience is personalization, such as item and recipe recommendations based on previous purchases, offers and curated discounts. To create these seamless and effective customer experiences, grocers need a platform that can optimize and support the ingestion of massive amounts of product information and data.
3. Offer multiple fulfillment options.
The need for convenience has driven the demand for multiple fulfillment options. With changing consumer lifestyles and hybrid work environments, customers are looking for more buying options. These options include the ability to buy online and pick up in store, curbside pickup option, and better shipping and delivery options.
Grocers will need technology solutions to deliver these experiences. The order management system requires sophisticated order routing capabilities such as buy online, pick up in store, ship to store, ship to store, split shipments, same day delivery and possibility of combining them. It should also help grocers offer pick-up and delivery time slot reservations that suit customers. The mobile store’s order fulfillment application must support these scenarios to help create an exceptional customer experience while streamlining front-end and back-end operations.
4. Improve the efficiency of store associates.
Two of the biggest challenges facing grocers are supply chain disruptions and labor shortages. As a result, online grocery consumers are faced with an increasing number of unavailable items and bizarre product substitutions. It has become imperative for grocers to optimize the efficiency of store associates who process online orders, and one of the best ways to do this is to implement an end-to-end fulfillment solution. that facilitates the picking, packing and picking up or delivery of large scale orders.
Fulfillment solutions optimize workflows based on the needs of the grocer and their store format to ensure they implement the most profitable process. Additionally, pick and pack apps facilitate order picking, allowing associates to prioritize orders in real time, authorize batch picking, identify optimal in-store picking routes, guide product substitutions and minimize errors with notification alerts.
With the right fulfillment workflows in place, high-volume stores can increase the number of items fulfilled per hour by 100% or more while minimizing poor picks and other fulfillment errors. The app can be used on any portable device, further enhancing in-store associate flexibility.
5. Build for dynamic and complex business models.
Grocers are now rapidly scaling their operations, making their business models increasingly complex with multiple banners, regions, languages, currencies, and more. It is not profitable for them to switch platforms for new features or regions. That’s why they need to choose the right technology stack that can meet their dynamic needs and is able to deliver granular pricing and assortment, down to the store level, with permission for administrative tasks. This will allow grocers to easily streamline their operations internally while continuing to provide their consumers with cutting-edge grocery experiences.
Grocery consumers have undeniably turned to e-commerce and grocers need to be well prepared to meet the dual challenges of growing while achieving profitability, forcing them to focus on optimizing their omnichannel experience as that they are experimenting with new ways to engage shoppers in a seamless buying experience.
As Director of Product, Omnichannel at Orchestra (Powered by mDtrade), Jean-Walter Guillery leads the product teams responsible for innovative e-commerce solutions in the OMS space and omnichannel commerce, as well as DevOps and release automation. For 10 years, Guillery has passionately developed elegant and innovative e-commerce products and solutions, focusing on completeness, quality, usability and ensuring that users are fully satisfied. Prior to joining Orckestra, he led software architecture in speech recognition and NLP, where he brought automation to call centers and helped companies save money while providing better service to their customers. .