By Instaleap

The pandemic forced supermarket chains to adapt to new consumer needs and trends. Despite that, many regions are still relying strongly on their in-person offering. On a global scale, however, consumers are increasingly looking for new shopping experiences and for greater personalization. 

How then, can supermarkets effectively introduce a grocery shopping experience that includes online as a means to effectively compete? 

Supermarket retailers that are investing in online technology are seeing the results. Companies like H-E-B Mexico have tripled its sales and reduced its last-mile costs by 30%!

Investing in digital channels with robust systems and operations is the way to go and we’ll explain why. 

1. Omnichannel Experiences Are a Must In Today’s Grocery Marketplace

Brand loyalty is not what it used to be. In fact, according to a report, only 8% of global consumers consider themselves loyal to the brands they use. In order to effectively compete for consumers’ attention and share of wallet, brands must stay on top of shopping trends and consumer satisfaction. To this end, what the pandemic has shown us is that omni channel experiences are here to stay. 

In the last two years, consumer behavior has shifted to online and that trend will continue going forward. What this means is that retailers must adapt to offer multi-channel shopping experiences that cater to consumers at the individual level. 

If retailers were hoping to go back to the old ways of doing business, they will risk losing market share very quickly, as other businesses are working fast to effectively solidify their omnichannel shopping experience, which of course, includes a solid digital strategy.

Bridging the gap between in-store and online shopping experiences has many retailers scratching their heads. Keeping inventory levels accurate, matching in-store promotions with online offers, and overall consistency in fulfillment and delivery experiences can be a challenge for many retailers. However, the faster you accept that your e-grocery strategy should be a part of your retail ecosystem, the faster you’ll be able to figure out the ins and outs of what will work for your business and make the right decisions in terms of investment. 

The following chart shows the difference in percentage points of consumers per country surveyed that expect to buy more online after the pandemic versus those who expect to buy less. 

Source: 2021 Global Consumer Trends Post-pandemic: How consumer behavior will continue to change in partnership with Qualtrix XM Institute.

An omni-channel strategy will allow you to control the shopping experience from beginning to end and to get to know your customers better. By going digital and centralizing the shopping experience, you will get to tailor the buyer’s journey and even continue the interaction long after a purchase has been made. Empower your operation and deliver exceptional shopping experiences that make sense to your consumers so they return!

2. Technology Enables Optimization and Scalability… Fast!

Supermarkets that are investing in online fulfillment & delivery solutions are increasing their sales and reducing their last-mile costs. The best part, technology enables scalability, can be quickly adapted and enhanced as consumer needs and trends evolve and provides data-rich insights that inform decision-making. 

While a portion of retailers have in-house technology teams that handle the e-commerce experience from end-to-end, others are opting for turnkey solutions that help them optimize their logistics and e-commerce operations without the heavy cost involved in building and maintaining the technology. 

The good news is that if you’re pressed for resources and funding to get your digital channel up and running, companies like Instaleap are dedicated to developing state-of-the-art fulfillment and delivery technology, which can be adopted and implemented at a fraction of the cost than setting up your own development team in-house.

In fact, retailers like Bodega Aurrera, Walmart’s top supermarket in Mexico, adopted Instaleap as a way to quickly respond to market needs during the pandemic and effectively match Walmart’s exemplary online shopping experience. It chose Instaleap’s end-to-end solution to manage its entire e-grocery process from a centralized platform. What started as a launch with 20 stores with online operations, was quickly scaled to more than 100+ stores, achieving exceptional metrics like an on-time delivery rate of over 90% in both the scheduled and express (on-demand) formats. 

By investing in a technology solution managed by experts, Bodega Aurrera is not only meeting consumer demand with scalability and results but can focus on what they do best: the grocery business, as opposed to managing the technology. 

3. Your Competition Is Everywhere! Are You Set Up for Success?

Shoppers today have an array of options when it comes to grocery shopping and delivery. From marketplaces to quick-commerce, to other traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, your competition is everywhere and moving at the speed of light. 

  • Marketplaces are those working off an on-demand delivery model and partnering with supermarkets to deliver to consumers. 
  • Quick-commerce or fast-delivery players that are fully digital, work solely under the supermarket category and promise short delivery times. 
  • Online only supermarkets
  • Traditional retailers—some more sophisticated than others when it comes to e-commerce and a digital fulfillment and delivery strategy.
  • Delivery startups as well as traditional supermarkets setting up dark stores, among others.

As grocery chains continue to analyze their online orders versus population density, many are deciding to either dedicate a portion of their physical location to storage and fulfillment and/or open up locations exclusively for order fulfillment. This modality, powered by technology, allows them to cover an even higher population periphery, obtaining more share of wallet from a targeted section of a population. 

Adding to the equation are retailers leveraging market players’ abilities to further expand their own capabilities. The end result is a highly intricate e-commerce landscape that retailers must navigate. In the best-case scenario, traditional grocery stores strategically set up operations to effectively compete, and investing in technology will be at the very core of their possibility to succeed. 

4. Obtain and Improve Consumer Data to Make Better Decisions

Whether you’ve already set up a digital channel, are looking to make changes or improvements, or are looking to set up your online operations, one key factor that will help you improve your retail operations and the customer experience is access to data. Do you currently have a strong analytics component to your operation or are you giving away your data to third parties? 

If your company is operating under silos or using third-party apps to fulfill and deliver goods, you’re not seeing the full picture of your operation. Investing in a logistics platform will give you back the power to have reliable consumer data that will back your decisions and processes. 

  • Do you know what items purchased were part of in-person shopping versus online? 
  • Can you effectively manage your inventory? 
  • Are you able to track orders and fulfillment times appropriately? 

With a centralized digital system, you will be able to effectively forecast, manage and deliver according to your brand’s promise.

Investing in your digital transformation is essential today and there are technology partners that can help. If you are looking for expertise, ongoing support, and continuous innovation, implementing a turnkey logistics and e-commerce solution might be right for you.

Want to take your e-grocery business to the next level? Learn more.

A version of this article previously appeared in Portuguese in Brazil’s SuperVarejo blog.