Building a people-first grocery delivery company


Building a people-first grocery delivery company

Convenience shouldn’t stand in the way of a truly personalized store experience

by Alice Francis, EVP of Operations at Shipt

The era of e-commerce is upon us. From clothing and gadgets to furniture and home goods, every corner of the retail industry has been affected by the speed and convenience of digital shopping. 

As a result, same-day, on-demand and in-home grocery delivery services are booming, paving an entirely new way for consumers to fit grocery shopping into their busy lives. While many businesses have suffered from the new wave of e-commerce – personal experiences, friendly neighborhood service, and local stores still matter deeply to grocery shoppers across the country. 

Only grocery delivery is enabling the best of both worlds: instant gratification and superb products for customers — while still tapping into the local community to fulfill customer expectations. In essence, developing quality online grocery shopping and delivery is a crucial next step to keeping brick-and-mortar alive as it evolves to the new digital economy. Here’s how services and grocers can work together to define the future of grocery shopping. 

The in-store customer experience still matters

Grocery shopping is such a personal experience. We pick our favorite stores because we know they have the freshest ingredients, and we select by hand the produce and meats that look best. We’re greeted by a friendly face at the cash register to ring us up. Our neighbor’s daughter packs all our items into our bags and totes them to our car, and we give them a tip. This is all to say that the physical store still matters to the overall shopping experience. 

When online delivery is done right, customers receive groceries to their door knowing they came from a familiar store across town – not a warehouse. They should anticipate that their deli meat will be sliced on site, the produce will have been stocked day-of, and store employees will be there to maintain the items. In other words, convenience shouldn’t stand in the way of personalized store experience. 

Brand loyalty still reigns supreme

Whether it’s loyalty to a particular product and an actual retailer, brands still matter deeply to consumers. Grocery shopping is ingrained in our weekly habits, so consumers associate their choice neighborhood store with having their favorite or preferred product. 

While grocery delivery services are a digital storefront, there should still be a sense of comfort for consumers when they open the app. They can expect to find all of the exact same products that they would reach for on the shelves. When something is out of stock, they are able to expect an update from their shopper and the opportunity to substitute new items or make adjustments. The marketplace must uphold the experience of familiarity and personalization through multiple retailer offerings, so consumers get exactly what they want. 

Personalization (in the store without being there yourself) is important

As much as we love to shop online, we understand there can be certain trade-offs to doing so. However, adding technology to the shopping experience doesn’t inherently mean the removal of the personal aspect.

Customers should be able to reach beyond the screen and feel they aren’t losing the quality of a personal shopping experience. There should still be someone on the other side of that experience shopping, tailoring, and delivering orders with the utmost care. Just as if they were in the store, customers should be able to communicate with their personal shopper in real-time to share any updates, substitutions, and the status of an order. And the groceries are always delivered in a grocery bag at the member’s doorstep – no boxes, no cold chain, just fresh groceries. 

For so long, grocery stores have been the center of our local communities. The experiences people have with food – either at the dinner table or in the aisles of the grocery store – are really personal and emotional. They have the power to shape people’s lives. As the world of online grocery delivery continues to grow, we can’t forget that. Partnering with local retailers to make their inventory available, and then making sure those fresh ingredients are received on-time and with a friendly face at the door, is the key.