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Addressing the challenge of effective e-grocery

04 February 2021

As the world moves further into the digital landscape, grocers are racing to find the best way to channel new opportunities. But while the e-grocery industry is poised for growth, it also faces unique challenges: changing trends, last mile delivery, and increasing pressure on brick-and-mortar retail.

Ever-changing e-grocery trends

For Shane Faulkner, Head of Sales for Swisslog in the UK, it is clear that logistics operations must be efficient enough to fulfil e-grocery orders now, but flexible enough to accommodate any future changes in strategy. “As an example, customers might currently prefer home delivery due to the pandemic and resulting lockdowns, but preferences may shift to curbside collection in years to come.”

Last mile delivery

While home delivery is the preferred method for some shoppers, it is also time- and cost-intensive for the grocer. Other shoppers prefer not to wait at home for two or more hours waiting for their groceries. This is where curbside collection comes in, allowing shoppers to pick up their shopping. Shane adds: “To compete in last mile delivery services, it is important for grocers to optimise the operation and make both the fulfilment process and the last mile efficient.” 

Pressure on brick-and-mortar retail

Grocers are meeting current e-grocery demand by employing manual pickers, essentially surrogate shoppers, who travel up and down supermarket aisles, alongside traditional in-store shoppers, pulling orders. 

This is an inefficient use of resources, as well as a burden on the traditional in-store shopper who will be competing for stock and aisle space with the surrogate shoppers. “The message here is clear; those that innovate now will be the segment leaders in the future.”

To find out how to face these e-grocery challenges, read the full article on Powering logistics for effective e-grocery in the Omnichannel supplement within the upcoming February issue of H&SS magazine.

For more information, visit www.swisslog.com