Online grocery shopping
Grocery sales through online platforms represent a very small part of the overall grocery retail market, but are amongst the fastest growing segment. Some people don’t enjoy the hassle of traditional grocery shopping, especially to stand in a queue before check-out. If consumers use the convenience of an online grocery service, they can pick their everyday products on the distributor’s website and will get the chosen items delivered right to their doorstep, which saves time. Most online suppliers in the United States provide same-day delivery options. During the last years, more and more firms tried to gain a foothold within the e-grocery industry. Companies engaged in the U.S. online grocery market include AmazonFresh, FreshDirect, NetGrocer, Walmart and Safeway.
A relatively new and innovative business model is supplied by Instacart. The San Francisco-based company is a grocery transport service that delivers the grocery order through personal shoppers in one to two hours. As of February 2015, Instacart charged 3.99 U.S. dollars per two-hour deliveries and 14.99 U.S. dollars per one-hour deliveries. The personal shoppers purchase the chosen items at different local food stores and deliver them to your house within the agreed time window.
The use of virtual grocery stores has still a large growth potential as more and more time-strapped consumers are looking for innovative ways to make their lives easier. However, a significant hurdle for online grocers remains freshness as many customers still prefer to see and touch the produce before purchase.