With the press of the button, smartphone users across the country are able to order anything their hearts desire, whether it be makeup or takeout dinner. And while it’s certainly not a brand new convention, grocery delivery services are once again becoming a promising way to remedy the tedious chore of grocery shopping.
Over the past few decades, stalwart brands like Peapod and FreshDirect have been consistently providing grocery delivery services to the masses. Now, upstarts like Instacart and Google Express are joining the mix, bringing fresh technological advances.
Technically speaking, the direct-to-consumer model has been around for over a century. In the late 1990s, when the dot-com was in its heyday, companies like Webvan and Kozmo promised timely grocery deliveries, collapsing only years later in 2001.
But times have changed. Today, a large majority of all shopping is done online. In fact, global e-commerce sales generate more than $900,000 every 30 seconds through desktop sales and approximately $269,683 via mobile phones and tablets. And with e-commerce websites like Amazon and Vitacost seeing a sharp increase in the purchase and delivery of non-perishable food items, it reflects a reinvigorated consumer demand for delivered groceries.
But finding the correct process to successfully delivery groceries is the most difficult part of all.
“Grocery is very different than general merchandise. The products have a shelf life; there is a very high cost to picking orders in the store. You also have a mix of frozen goods, refrigerated goods, dry goods, and then how do you get it to people in an appropriate amount of time and a window that is good for them,” said Steven Kramer, chief executive officer of WorkJam in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.
One invaluable answer to this equation is the rise of mobile broadband access, which works directly with stores to offer curbside pickups for goods.
And while the need is indeed rising, some grocers are instead looking to enhance in-store experience.
“Ninety-five percent (of shopping) is still happening in the store. There’s a race right now to remain relevant because the number of options available to consumers have increased significantly,” said Kramer.