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Independents get creative with online, delivery services

Independents get creative with online, delivery services

Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert (center) moderates the panel  “Understanding Shopping Habits — NGA Consumer Survey.”
Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert (center) moderates the panel “Understanding Shopping Habits — NGA Consumer Survey.”

Setting up online ordering and delivery operations can be difficult, but panelists at The NGA Show described alternate approaches for independent retailers to dip their toes in e-commerce waters.

“I think our industry always needs a big boogeyman that is up above and is going to kill out business. And I think online delivery is now that boogey man,” said Dan Shanahan, president and CEO, Buehler's Fresh Foods.

Wooster, Ohio-based Buehler’s focuses on offering convenience with online shopping without delivery.

Buehler’s lets customers put their shopping lists together, and send their shopping list for pick up in store, Shanahan said.


“I think that delivery is more logistics driven and that will work itself out, but there’s a big opportunity on the online piece,” he said.

Retailers need not start up a huge delivery program to see if it is something customers would use.

Fresh Encounter — a retailer that operates several banners in Ohio — makes use of delivery for its Community Supported Agriculture program.

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Participants sign up for $20 and receive a delivered box of local products. “Is that dog gonna hunt?” asked Mike Needler, president and CEO of Fresh Encounter. “I’m not really sure, but I think it’s something we can try to start to evaluate — how do we provide that sort of convenience and that sort of luxury?”

Tim Myers, CMO of Affiliated Foods Midwest in Norfolk, Neb., urged independent retailers to start thinking about online ordering and delivery.

“You have to be in the game. You might not have to be a star right now, but you have to start the process,” said Myers.

Supermarket Guru and SN Contributing Editor Phil Lempert moderated the panel  “Understanding Shopping Habits — NGA Consumer Survey” at a breakfast session Monday at The NGA Show in Las Vegas.


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