“Given the convenience of e-commerce, the consumer needs a really good reason to go to a store and park their car” – Wall Street Analyst, NYT
Cooperative markets are the local grocery store. Created to serve the needs of their communities. But change is happening, and it’s happening fast. To survive and thrive coops need to change too.
When Amazon bought Whole Foods, did your alarm clock ding telling you the time is now? Online shopping and delivery for fresh foods is here. Hitting the snooze button even once puts your store at risk. Amazon has been delivering fresh for over 10 years now – Amazon Fresh launched in 2007. Buying Whole Foods wasn’t a move to deliver fresh for Amazon, it was their first step to becoming a local grocer! Amazon is stepping onto your turf.
Competition goes beyond Amazon. All major chains have added online shopping and most are implementing or testing delivery solution. Some are even offering free home delivery. Meal kits from companies like Blue Apron offer fresh pre-measured meal solutions delivered to your customer’s front door. Each one is chipping away at your addressable market.
The Consumer Journey
Kurt Salmon in his research Surviving the Brave New World of Food Retailing, highlighted the changing value proposition for retailers. Going forward value has shifted to the consumer and their journey. The consumer decision starts before they ever step into a store. The journey is affected by lifestyle, diet, health concerns, personal preferences, priorities, work life and a desire for convenience. To stay relevant retailers must develop strategies and capabilities to engage the consumer throughout their journey. This means earning trust that you understand their desires and wants, that you can meet demands, and can deliver meal solutions that are convenient to them. The best way to convince them is to engage them on a personal level. Your best chance for personal engagement is with your own online solution.
If you think waiting another six months or longer somehow will make it easier, you need to re-think it. Shoppers are rapidly adopting technology that allows them to order grocers without having a device in-hand. The phrase, “Alexa we need milk” means something. Smart refrigerators can now detect when an item is nearly empty and automatically places an order with the customer’s favorite store. We’re in an Internet of Things API driven world where new gadgets appear daily. New convenience driven features are one click away from being added to your competitors existing online capability. Are you ready to take orders from a refrigerator?
There is no question that consumers are adopting online shopping. The key is trust. Consumers will migrate toward retailers they trust to provide fresh foods through the convenience of ordering from anywhere at any time while offering options for pickup and delivery that meet their lifestyle needs.