An Industry On the Verge of Dramatic Transformation
eCommerce has stormed into the retail landscape, transforming the way we look for products and the way we shop. However, this change is affecting different industries to very different extents.
While consumers have quickly shifted to online channels to buy goods like clothing or technology items, they are still reluctant to turn to eCommerce to purchase certain goods, like fresh or frozen foods.
Don’t take us wrong. Food and beverage is actually the eCommerce segment with the biggest growth in the US, but the online market share, when compared to the total retail sales, remains smaller than that of other categories.
Moreover, grocery eCommerce does not have the same penetration in all geographical markets. As a matter of fact, Europe is way behind the US market, with a market share of 1.8% in 2018 vs. 6.3% of U.S. total grocery-related spending.
This should not be taken as a lack of appropriateness of online channels for grocery shopping. On the contrary, more and more pure players arise in these areas. Deliberry and Ulabox in Spain and Ocado in the United Kingdom are among the large list of companies that have ventured into the lands of pure online grocery retail.
They were not the only ones. Brick-and-mortar supermarkets like Tesco, Mercadona and so on have also built a strong presence online with online selling channels that allow customers to make their weekly grocery purchases from the comfort of their homes.
This makes the growing trend clear. In fact, the European market is expected to see a 66% increase in revenue by 2023, with a 152% growth in North America, according to a study published by IGD.
Challenges in Online Grocery Shopping
Moving from brick-and-mortar to online stores can be challenging for consumers when it comes to buying perishable goods.
You may wonder why despite the fact that 49% of Spanish consumers are likely to buy groceries online, to date, very few European consumers have switched to online channels. Truth is, to do so, they’d need more compelling reasons.
Here are some of the challenges online grocery retail is facing:
- Bad user experience and interface. Traditional retailers are still not convinced of the power of online channels and they don’t consecrate enough budget to their online stores, which results in unmet user expectations.
- Limited assortments. The limited range of products that are available online or even the fact that some overprice their items when sold through online channels disheartens consumers.
- High delivery costs. Even with large shopping baskets, some retailers are still applying high delivery costs to orders.
- Need for immediacy. Let’s be honest. Who hasn’t run out of food and come home to an empty fridge? But in that case, would you make an online order and wait for it to be delivered two days later? Not likely.
- Modern-day busy lives. This might seem irrelevant to some, but having your order delivered when you have a 9 to 5 schedule might be tricky. And you certainly don’t want all your shopping basket to be delivered to your workplace.
The Click And Collect and Fast-Delivery Models
Seeing some of these challenges, retailers ahead of the game have come up with interesting solutions.
Click and Collect.
This method makes the problem of time deliveries vanish. Even if the customer still needs to pick up the order at a physical place, it eliminates the time spent wandering around the supermarket aisles.
Fast grocery delivery apps have surged during 2019. The idea is to get your groceries delivered fast at home the same way you can order your favorite food from restaurants. Apps like Ubereats, Glovo, Rappi or Udely are some examples of this fast-growing trend.
Making Reordering Easy With A Grocery Scanner
You think this sounds great but browsing for food products online still bothers you? There is also a solution to that. Some supermarkets are starting to integrate a new functionality in their websites and apps that lets consumers scan for products to access information or for easy reordering. But how would this work? Let’s show an example.
1. You are used to drinking coconut cream & almond milk from a specific brand. You make yourself a coffee and realize you are running out of it. So what do you do? You take your phone.
2. Using the supermarket’s grocery scanner or product recognition functionality on their website or app, you scan the product and choose the number of milk boxes you want to reorder.
3. Then, you directly place your order or decide to save the items in your basket and keep scanning other products you might need until you are ready to place an order. Once you are ready, you go to checkout, and it’s done! Your weekly groceries are on their way!
How Do Supermarkets Integrate Product Recognition in Their Apps?
With Craftar Image Recognition, you can download the needed packages of code (including the SDK and API) for your IT team to integrate the image recognition service into your app in order to create a grocery scanner. Once everything is settled, you will be able to use it as a white-label service. The only thing you’ll need to do is upload at least one image per product to the Content Management System and link it to the “add to cart” link, so the product scanned is added to the basket.