Progressive Grocer

FEB 2017

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February 2017 | | 47 Profiles in Progress Ecommerce The Fantastic Four This quartet of food retailers is doubling down on ecommerce now, for future success. By Randy Hofbauer I t's understood that in ecommerce, the grocery channel has been somewhat of a laggard com- pared with others. According to New York-based, computers and consumer electronics are anticipat- ed to make up the No. 1 category in U.S. ecommerce dollar sales between 2012 and 2018, at $108.4 billion, trailed by apparel and accessories ($86 billion) and auto and auto parts ($51.6 billion) at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively. Food and beverages fall at No. 9, with $10.9 billion. Grocery ordering online for pickup or delivery is anticipat- ed to mature, however. While only 12 percent and 9 percent of North Americans in 2015 reported purchasing groceries online for delivery or pickup, respectively, 55 percent and 57 percent said they're willing to do the same, respectively, ac- cording to "e Future of Grocery," an April 2015 report from Schaumburg, Ill.-based market researcher Nielsen. Clearly, many are ready to give online grocery shopping a try. A number of traditional brick-and-mortar grocers seem to understand this reality and have been investing heavily in recent years to grab their share of the ecommerce pie sooner rather than later — and to continue to grow it even while competition heats up. e following is a look at four of the more noteworthy contenders. Walmart Wal-Mart Stores Inc. recently has made significant strides to position itself as a major ecommerce player. In late 2015, the Bentonville, Ark.-based company announced plans to pour $2 billion into ecommerce over the follow- ing two years, outpacing the $700 million it spent on fast food By partnering with Uber, Walmart has access to a fleet of cars for grocery delivery 24/7, allowing online shoppers to get their orders whenever they want.

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