Online groceries in 2021: Short Commentary by Guy Redwood
Although 2020 taught us that predictions and preparations can be futile, it accelerated developments across many sectors.
Expect B2B online groceries to get their ‘houses’ in order and compete with the far superior user experience (UX) offered by B2C brands.
Though business buyers have specific needs – particularly when it comes to groceries – they are currently wrestling with basic ecommerce, held back by retailers’ legacy systems. This sits in stark contrast to the effortless experience available via supermarkets’ digital shelves.
Many brands had an online ‘baptism of fire’ last year, which forced them to pivot to thrive. Bad UX and clunky websites were often forgiven, in lieu of providing some semblance of service when the supermarkets struggled to meet demand.
Elsewhere, smaller grocery stores will feel settled with the online platforms they’ve been forced to adopt – growing home delivery services by focusing on service and an established online customer base.
Many now understand the economics of trading online and will invest in, and improve, this new channel – looking beyond Covid-19 and Brexit. Direct-to-consumer online retail will be huge for food companies fighting to survive the loss of revenue from Brexit hassles too – as seen by The Ethical Shellfish company.
The NHS’s ‘test and trace’ scheme educated many on what to do with QR codes, and brands are expected to capitalise on this new way of engaging with shoppers – from checking provenance, ingredients, recipes and serving suggestions, to recycling information and registering for offers and newsletters.
Finally, with so many having ‘bought into’ online ordering over the past year, uptake of secure delivery boxes will increase consumer confidence in delivery of food while we are away from home.