Online Grocery Sales Fall, But Steep E-Commerce Competition is Here to Stay
Grocery shoppers are doing more in-store shopping as the world emerges from the pandemic. While online sales have fallen again, there are indications that e-commerce sales will still be a popular way for many to shop for the foreseeable future.
This news comes from two recent articles that seem to be at odds with each other. One report notes that grocers are facing stiff e-commerce competition with 40% of shoppers indicating that they will increase their online shopping vs. 20% who indicate that they will shop online less frequently for the rest of this year. The other report details how online grocery sales dropped 23% in June 2021 from a historically high level in June 2020.
The takeaway for grocers, however, is clear. Online sales are slowing, but not likely returning to pre-pandemic levels. And, many consumers liked certain aspects of online grocery shopping, such as the option to pick up their purchases at the store. Pickup orders have grown 42% over the past year, while delivery and ship-to-home have both dropped. The reports also noted the continued rise of mass retail as a top competitor for grocers, highlighting the need to not only provide pickup options but to improve service to compete with larger retailers.
Now, more than ever, grocers need to evaluate the shopping experiences they provide customers and ensuring a unified omnichannel environment where technology augments in-store shopping, and online shopping feels more like walking down a grocery store aisle. Omnichannel shoppers spend more, so the investment pays ongoing returns.
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