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Online shopping barriers slowly dissolve

Online shopping barriers slowly dissolve

It’s no surprise that my fellow IdeaXchanger and industry visionary Bill Bishop already eloquently weighed in on the potential growth of online shopping transforming the grocery business in much the same way we have seen it impact other areas of retail.

As we know, there are multiple barriers associated with shopping and getting grocery products delivered to the home. Slowly, we are seeing each one of these potentially be removed and this could open the floodgates to a new wave of online growth.

A few recent news articles caught my attention that are demonstrations of such trends:

Waitrose, the terrific UK grocer, has debuted a device called Hiku that will enable users to scan barcodes at home, with shopping baskets for online delivery being automatically created. This is a product of their Innovation lab, which is also a great idea. Of course, Amazon has a similar concept called Dash that enables the same. Easily helping customers with list development and subscription services to replenish frequently purchased goods are examples of removing barriers on the customer end of creating their lists.

Instacart continues to aggressively expand in the U.S. They just added an excellent grocer in the Chicago area, Sunset Foods, to their roster of clients which includes retailers such as Whole Foods, Kroger and Costco in selected cities. Instacart is trying to solve the problem of “the last mile,” getting groceries to the customers’ homes. Through the crowdsourcing of drivers, Instacart is attempting to bring down the cost ($3.99) and time (promises of one-hour delivery at times) to address the very expensive process of home delivery.

Walmart is testing a grocery pickup format in Bentonville, Ark.

Walmart is piloting a dedicated pickup service near their headquarters that allows customers to drive through and never leave their car. We have talked about the explosion of similar services at the big hypermarket chains in France.

AmazonFresh announced their expansion into the Northeast, offering annual fee-based home delivery that is linked to their Prime service.

• Our Korean client, Emart, is aggressively rolling out home delivery, building smaller dedicated depots to help automate the picking process.

While all of these ideas have their challenges in implementation, it is fairly clear that the efforts to make on-line grocery shopping mainstream is continuing to gain momentum.

What are your on-line plans? Even if you prefer to wait out the experimentation, it won’t be long until some of these ideas become mainstream.

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