Online grocery: Is it the right thing to do?
Dr. Jetta points out that many retailers are offering online grocery because their competitors are, creating a follow-the-herd mentality. The question then becomes: Should they be doing online grocery at all since brick-and-mortar grocery stores are far from dead?
The 3 key problems Dr. Jetta points out for online grocery are:
- Limited frame of reference: Consumers can only see a few products on computer screen at a time when ordering online and therefore have a harder time doing product selection and price comparisons. Consumers can make these same comparisons faster and easier when standing in front of a shelf.
- It's more expensive: Online shopping is 25% more expensive, on average. So, the time savings that many consumers feel they get from shopping for groceries online can be negated by the higher costs of shopping online in the first place.
- It's not a "personal" experience: Building on the first point, many consumers state that they need to see the prices and deals for products within a category, and among categories. In fact, 90% of consumers prefer to shop in a brick-and-mortar store compared to online.
Will the online grocery recipe last?
As Dr. Jetta points out, retailers are making less money by offering online grocery services, which are more expensive to operate. Further, online grocery doesn't really solve a problem that consumers have since brick-and-mortar grocery stores get the job done for the vast majority of consumers.