Buy-online, pickup-in-store (BOPIS) orders surged 195% YoY in May 2020, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index. The study revealed that nearly a quarter of online consumers (23%) prefer curbside pickup over delivery. This huge jump in ‘click and collect’ is due to the challenges and opportunities that emerged from the COVID-19 crisis.
Omni-channel For The Win
Walmart’s e-commerce sales climbed up by 74% YoY in the first quarter courtesy of the growing adoption of pickup and delivery service. 4X more customers availed the curbside pickup service for the first time. This includes the 50-plus cohort – an excellent window of opportunity for grocery retailers.
By using its distinctive assets, Walmart is cleverly building an omni-channel empire. In recent times, the company converted its stores into e-commerce fulfillment centers, integrated completely contactless payments, launched a new mobile app, partnered with ThredUp & Shopify, and ramped up curbside pickup facilities for non-grocery high-margin products.
State Of Digital Transformation In Grocery
There’s a visible digital shift in the grocery sector with renewed interest in embracing digital transformation. Particularly now when more than 75% of consumers have expressed deep interest in BOPIS, according to NRF’s Spring 2020 Consumer View survey.
Companies like Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond and Dick’s Sporting were able to scale up their curbside program swiftly because of their consistent investment in e-commerce, technology and omni channel strategies. Walmart’s warehouse club chain, Sam’s Club, also launched the service in its 597 clubs. To drive customer engagement, Kroger increased its store pickup slots and waived off the $5 pickup service fee. Russian food retailer X5 Retail launched a pilot click-and-collect service. Aldi has decided to extend click-and-collect service after a successful pilot program. Lidl is testing a similar service in Poland.
However, in spite of physical and digital assets, retailers are finding themselves stretched too thin due to the unprecedented surge in demand – be it in online orders or curbside pickup.
How Can Grocery Retailers Handle This Surge In Demand?
Through AI-powered technology!
Retailers will benefit immensely from dynamic personalization engines that can reveal relevant information about customer behaviour and trends in real time, which according to industry experts is the biggest challenge the grocery industry faces today.
The inventory issues, another common challenge, arising from sporadic demand and erratic shopping patterns can be resolved with the help of AI-powered product data, inventory management and automated product tagging tools. Be it inventory visibility or product discovery, AI-powered tags can assist retailers in deploying an effective omni-channel strategy.
This surge in demand for curbside pickup will continue to climb up. In the pre-COVID world, online grocery accounted for only 3% or 4% in the US. The number swelled up almost 5X in a short span of two months, touching 10% to 15%. To keep up with the current pace of growth, explore how AI-powered tags and personalization can bring your grocery business up to speed.