Covid 19 and Grocery Stores

Current health concern instructions involve only leaving your home for essential trips, like grocery shopping. We are all trying to do our part to help those most vulnerable. One way to stop the spread even further and protect yourself and your family is to use online grocery shopping. 

More and more people are using order fulfillment through their local grocery stores to stay safe and healthy and limit exposure. More stores are offering online grocery shopping or amping up their current program to accommodate the increase in demand. 

A study done in march among customers of online grocery shopping revealed that more customers are likely to use order fulfillment even after the pandemic restrictions are lifted – around 43% of respondents. Those numbers may also start to increase during the length of the pandemic. So while the demand has increased for the immediate future, it is likely to stay elevated. 

Impact on the Grocery Industry

All of these changes are creating a large shift in the way the grocery industry functions. Changes are having to be made to accommodate the large influx in order fulfillment services both to the physical stores and the online platforms. 

Because of the adapting that is necessary in such a short period of time, some delays are to be expected. Delays of up to seven days may happen at peak times for grocery delivery to homes. This delay can be mitigated by using the curbside pick-up options. 

There may also be longer delays for high demand items that are out of stock due to panic buying. While this issue is not specific to online grocery shopping, it will still affect any people using the online option to buy their food and supplies. Some stores are only selling these high demand items in store instead of online to manage the issue. 

Stores Caught Unprepared

Nobody was ready for the grocery store shelves to be cleared out and the demand to be so large for certain items in such a short period of time. This might affect online-only retailers during the crisis since certain manufacturers are shipping supplies to physical stores before online retailers. 

Shipping to the physical stores puts goods in customer hands faster than if they were to be sold online. It also decreases the number of people who come in contact with the item, which can help stop the spread. This may have lasting effects on the online retailers, like Amazon. 

The current demand may also make physical stores place a higher priority on an up-to-date website and customer interface. Since there was not as much of a need before, some websites are not easy to navigate or use. Since there is a higher demand, stores that have websites that are easier to use are going to get the most business right now. 

What To Do Now

Updating websites and online marketing may also cause the shift in the industry to last beyond the pandemic crisis. If online shopping becomes even more streamlined and customers become familiar with the process, it will likely continue even when trips outside the home are no longer restricted.