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Photo of opened meal kit on kitchen counter.

Competing with Meal Kit Delivery

The meal kit market has grown significantly since being introduced broadly to the U.S. in 2012, and it’s changing the way some consumers shop for food. On a recent NGA Webinar titled “A Contest of Convenience: How to compete with the meal kit format”, Erik Thoresen from Technomic discussed how this fast growing market represents both an opportunity and a threat to retailers. In the blog post, I’ll break down some of the takeaways from his presentation. What are meal kits? First, what exactly are meal kits? Chances are, you’ve already heard of these ‘meals in a box’ delivered to your doorstep. Meal kits are ingredients and meal components which companies assemble and transport to consumers for home preparation. The biggest companies today offering meal kit delivery include Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Gobble, Home Chef, Marley Spoon and Plated. The meal kit market has seen significant growth. The meal kit trend started in the U.S. around 2012 and globally is estimated to have a $3.3 billion dollar impact on the retail channel in 2020 (the amount that customers will spend…

Coffee with Cart Graphic.

We’re in the “Betamax” of online shopping

There was a time, in the early 1980’s, when families had to make some hard decisions on how to best spend their home entertainment dollars. They wanted the freedom to watch movies at home on their own schedule. The question was should we get a “Betamax” or “VHS” player? For a while you could rent a movie in either format. But slowly Betamax cassettes began to fade away. Today, in 2016 we find ourselves in a similar predicament only in the grocery industry. Which online shopping method is going to be the future VHS? Instead of two choices we now have several. Here are a few that were discussed in last weeks Coffee with CART with Sterling and Schuyler Hawkins. Let’s see what other retailers are doing… Instacart: Several retailers in southern California are partnering with Instacart to combat the Aldi invasion. For a grocery customer to use Instacart, they first need to know which stores are partners. They go to the website using any mobile device, find their store, pick their items, schedule the delivery and groceries should show up in a…

A Journey to Online Shopping

Our Investigation into online shopping started a few weeks after I started working at AWG. I was having lunch with friend and telling him about my new job. In the midst of it, he asked “When am I going to be able to get all of my groceries online?” As AWG retailers mostly hadn’t stepped into the online shopping space, that wasn’t exactly a question I was hoping for. Then, we got a request from larger retailer for an online shopping platform. He wanted to know what we thought was the best one, which one made the most sense, which one would take him into the future? That launched us into an investigation of what was happening in the industry. As a normal tactic, I just started googling. At that point was still new to the grocery industry and didn’t know platforms. This lead me to article after article predicting the rise of online shopping in the grocery industry. Historic online shopping platforms for grocery had been around a while, but not much had changed. Challenges with user interfaces were…

Walmart to go truck

Why Now is the Time to Act on Online Shopping

Online shopping continues to be one of the hottest topics in the grocery industry today. Many retailers are hesitant to make an investment in an online shopping strategy today, but I will caution you on that approach. Recent moves by Walmart have made it very apparent that online shopping in the grocery industry isn’t a matter of IF, but WHEN. Walmart made headlines last month when it announced it was closing 269 stores globally. But, that move was made in part to help strengthen “the e-commerce business and expanding Pickup services for customers.” And now, Walmart is moving full speed ahead, announcing that they will be investing nearly 1 billion dollars to expand their online shopping capabilities — including expanding their grocery items available online.   When Walmart rolls out their online grocery service, they’re likely to feature a no-fee pickup and low-fee delivery experience. But the independent retailer can compete very well in the online shopping space with mega retailers like Walmart. Customers shopping online at their local independent retailers will appreciate knowing their personal shoppers. Online shoppers are…

National Retail Federation - Retail's Big Show 2016

Coffee with CART: 1/21 Recap

In last week’s Coffee with CART, Schuyler and Sterling reflected on NRF (National Retail Federation) 2016. Among the companies represented at NRF was Amazon. Amazon is not a brick-and-mortar company, however, retailers can no longer think of only brick-and-mortar stores within their zip code as their competitors. Their competition now includes everyone, due to the rapidly growing world of online shopping. Online shopping is the most trending retail business today. According to Retail Dive, what is driving the transformation most is the Internet and mobile technology, the rise in millennial spending power, the empowerment of the consumer and the impact of globalization. Robin Lewis, CEO of the Robin Report, said “We are right now in the middle of the biggest, most profound transformation in the history of retail.” Many brick-and-mortar retailers are feeling challenged by pressures of sales growth, but hope is in sight. Brick-and-mortar businesses have at least one advantage, and that is their stores, themselves. Shoppers are surrounded by atmosphere and friendly face-to-face customer service that the Amazons of the world cannot provide. Another topic was on how…

Mouse clicking on a grocery basket hovering over a keyboard.

Trends in Online Grocery Shopping

Technology is changing the way people shop for everything, including groceries Studies show that the demand for online grocery shopping is currently underserved Competition is quickly growing for online grocery One of the hottest topics today in grocery is online shopping, and for good reason. Retailers are increasingly hearing from those customers that are looking for the convenience that online shopping can bring. In addition, many national and regional chains are evaluating or entering the online shopping sector today. So what’s the real opportunity for retailers looking to get into online shopping? Let’s take a look at a recent study from BI Intelligence, which highlights the biggest e-commerce trends happening today in retail. The following slides are from The Future of Retail: 2015 Report by Business Intelligence. Looking specifically and the grocery industry, here are the trends surrounding online shopping:               As you can see from these slides, the opportunity for online grocery is vast. The demand is there from customers, but most supermarkets don’t currently offer this service. If you want to tap…

Apple Pay logo.

Coffee with CART: 9/10 Recap

I know many retailers are tired of hearing about the importance of having a online identity for their stores. It might seem we are trying to get our members ready for the demise of their bricks and mortar stores. A recent session of Coffee with CART made a big point that proves otherwise. The more that happens online, the more important bricks and mortar stores are. Stores now have a choice of multiple online tools to get their brand out among consumers. The amount of tools to use is growing FAST, with no breaks or time outs. All of these tools are used to influence shoppers because purchases now START online. Notice they didn’t say all purchases end online because people still need to have a physical shopping experience. 64% shoppers say they need better customer service in order to make a purchase. US adults spend 2 hours and 51 minutes a day on their mobile devices. What are these US adults doing with their mobile time? They are providing their own customer service by researching for future purchases, which is…

Mobile phone rising out of magic hat.

Changing Mobile Phone Habits

Technology has a habit of changing family traditions. For example, televisions changed dinnertime for many families. Popular TV shows would be scheduled to air during dinnertime, so how did we adapt? TV dinners! When people started getting electricity in their homes, we started staying up later. The telephone even helped change migration patterns because family members could move further away from each other but still communicate quickly. Waiting 3 months for a reply to a letter you sent is hard to imagine. Some of the habits people formed around new technologies can make those without not want to get involved, or as little as possible to get by. Any habit in excess can make a person annoying, ridiculous or even dangerous. Setting too close to the TV can hurt your eyes. Constant talking on the phone makes it hard for other family members to use the phone, and promotes gossip. Reading all night makes it hard to concentrate the next day. So it stands to reason why this Mobilegeddon craze can be something you might want to ease into. People…

Online Shopping keyboard button

Online Grocery Shopping…it’s here to stay

Chances are your daily life is just as busy as everyone else, if not more so. You go to work, drop off and pick up the kids at school, baseball or soccer practice, gymnastics, music lessons, you name it. Then you go to the gym when you can so that you can be around long enough to watch your kids go through the same daily struggles you had, and getting a small bit of sadistic glee from it. Or perhaps you’re single and go to the gym so that you can one day enjoy all of the aforementioned rigors of daily life with kids. Either way there is still laundry, car maintenance, house keeping, dinner to consider and don’t forget about calling your mother. The average person is busy, so it’s no wonder ebay, Amazon, and other online shopping sites have boomed. Click, click, buy and delivered to your door. So what’s the hold up with online grocery shopping? Is it consumer fear, retailer fear, or lack of knowledge on how to implement? With all the Government Food Safety Regulations…