Grocers, like other retailers, are increasingly aware of both the challenges and opportunities presented by technology. A survey of grocery retailers in North America conducted by RIS News the and International Data Corporation (IDC) Retail Insights in June 2013 found that the vast majority of respondents—more than eight in 10—said that investments in technological improvements would take place over the next year.
A major area of interest for digitally minded grocers is increasing the ability of customers to interact with retailers through a variety of channels. The idea of ordering online and picking up in-store, once a rare experience, is quickly becoming the norm. The survey found that half of those polled already offered the service, and that more than half of those that didn’t yet have it planned to offer it within 12 months.
More than one-third of respondents already had home delivery service for orders made online, and 12.5% expected to offer the service in a year’s time.
When it came to mobile services for customers, retailers showed the greatest interest in offering technology to create mobile shopping lists; 62.5% planned to offer them this year. More than half of respondents also said they planned to offer coupons or in-store discounts via mobile devices, with the same percentage expecting to provide mobile checkout.
eMarketer projected in April that US ecommerce retail sales of food and beverage products, of which groceries are a part, would grow from $5.8 billion this year to $11 billion in 2017.