For Grocers, Omnichannel Remains a Work in Progress

Small fraction have a “fully integrated strategy”

April 27, 2017

Grocers are building up their omnichannel efforts, but for most, it’s still a work in progress.

According to a survey of grocery executives by Progressive Grocer, just 12.2% of grocers have a "fully integrated strategy" for omnichannel retailing. About one-third said they have a strategy they are executing, and slightly more (36.6%) said they were just getting started.

Asked about specific omnichannel services they offer, more than one-quarter said the have a mobile shopping app. And more than one in five offer click and collect.

The number of shoppers who purchase groceries digitally will rise significantly this year, according to February 2017 data from retail marketing and analytics software company Unata and consultancy Brick Meets Click. Close to one-third (31%) of US internet users said they were "very likely" or "somewhat likely" to buy groceries online in 2017—up from 19% in 2016.

A March 2017 report from financial research firm Cowen and Company found that 12% of US internet users purchased groceries online at least once a month in 2016; another 22% said they were likely to do so in the future.

The Unata and Cowen studies "demonstrate an increasing interest in buying groceries online," said eMarketer analyst Patricia Orsini in a recent report on the grocery sector. "Other research shows that once a shopper tries an online grocery shopping service, the behavior becomes habit-forming."