Coronavirus Effects on Online Grocery Retailers

As the new virus has shaken the whole world, people are changing their shopping habits and leaning towards digital means in order to fulfill their basic needs such as buying food and groceries. This new development appears to continue even after the decrease in pandemic effects. 

In order to meet the needs of their customers, the retailers are forced to adapt to the new normal and take actions quickly as the demand is increasing rapidly. Especially the leaders of the grocery retail sector accelerated their digital transformation to e-commerce and omnichannel fulfillment to reach more consumers.  

The Rise in Demand

The stockpiling stream started with worldwide lockdowns has decreased but still continues. Because of that, people are getting more and more prefer to purchase their daily needs online and online stores are working hard to keep up with the rise in demand. 

However, some are struggling to do so, even the biggest ones. Amazon stopped accepting new orders on non-essential goods because they are unable to cope with the unprecedented increase in demand. 

According to the research by consulting firm Bain & Company, in the US only about 3% or 4% of grocery spending was online before the coronavirus outbreak, but that’s increased to 15%.

In other parts of the world such as China, South Korea and the UK, consumers are adopting online grocery shopping quicker than ever. According to analysis by Bain, Kantar and Forrester, %14 of people in China, %19 of South Korea and %7 of the UK are purchasing groceries online. 

How Are They Adjusting?

As we mentioned, retailers are working hard to adjust the new normal and they are taking the following measures;

  • Redeploying store employees to picking, packing and shipping orders
  • Boosting staffing levels for order pickup and drive-up fulfillment
  • Increasing support team to help handle call, chat and email volume
  • Adapting contact-free way of delivering
  • Investing on mobile apps and improving website services

 

Retailers like Target and Walmart are moving fast to apply these steps in order to address the increased demand for online grocery shopping and others are following. 

 

Overall: The Online Grocery Shopping Trend is Escalating

Online grocery stores traffic is increasing rapidly since the beginning of the outbreak, shifting the industry from one of convenience to one of necessity. Transactions are also increasing but the stores are struggling to meet demands and consumers are challenging to secure a delivery slot. 

In many countries, online supermarkets have improved their supply chain and and even after the pandemic, it appears that the online grocery shopping trend will continue to accelerate.