Grocery players are cautiously investing, and startups are growingThe overwhelming online demand during the COVID-19 pandemic caught most players by surprise and urged them to better structure their businesses in the health emergency’s aftermath, attributing to the online grocery market's growth. The supermarket chain Esselunga pioneered in the sector more than a decade ago and therefore outranked other competitors in terms of e-commerce net sales. The brand was also the second-most popular after Amazon Fresh, despite the retailer only operating in North and Central Italy.
Far from being truly omnichannel, other retailers successfully integrated omnichannel services into their brick-and-mortar business. This is true for Conad, which has increased the number of points of sale offering home delivery and Buy Online Pick Up In Store (BOPIS) options. In some cases, established e-commerce and food delivery companies opened new opportunities for grocery retailers. Carrefour partnered with Deliveroo and Glovo, both providing quick delivery of a limited selection of products in big cities. New providers are emerging and expanding their business. Headquartered and already operating in Italy, startup Everli has secured a business partnership with Carrefour in France, after having launched its grocery delivery services in Poland, Czech Republic, and Germany. Lastly, e-grocery startup Cortilia has focused more on the D2C segment, delivering products from local producers to consumers.