Observing various online grocery websites there seem to be some unresolved issues with the process:
1. Delivery charges: This will always be a barrier as most shoppers wouldn’t want to waste $5 – $20 on paying delivery charges. Most shoppers don’t calculate the value of time, or they haven’t started as yet.
2. Discount Country: In a Hi-Low price market such as Canada, a lot of shoppers cherry-pick in stores and choose brands based on discounts available. The discounts on food are most between 20-50% off the shelf price. Online shoppers will always feel they are missing out on these offers. Also, not all the promotions in store are offered online. So as an online shopper not only am I paying for delivery, I am most probably also paying more for the items or categories I buy.
3. Impulse Purchase: A number of items in every physical shopping basket are purchased on impulse. Categories such as snacks or confectionery are purchased on impulse most of the time. Impulse items will suffer with Online shopping to a large extent.
4. Fresh Produce & Meats: Shoppers typically want to touch and feel the fruits and vegetables they buy. They also want to make sure they can visually inspect the meat they buy. Online shopping currently does not offer these options.
5. Entertainment Value: A number of people treat grocery shopping as weekly entertainment. They enjoy browsing and trying new items and choosing the right brand out of all the options.
6. Shelf life: Another aspect that online does not offer. A number of items are date sensitive and you’ll very often find shoppers pick the carton of milk with the latest production date.
The truth is that online shopping will never replace a full shop expedition. Those occasions may survive for a long time. It’s the fill-in shopping occasions that are at risk. Online stores that offer a value option for convenience trips will win for sure. It sends one back a few decades when the small neighbourhood grocery stores that used to deliver even 1 tomato if you called. EDLP and No delivery charges!