It’s 2023, and customers who went online to buy groceries during the days of lockdown are still choosing the convenience of eCommerce over trips to the store. The way we shop for food has changed for good, and that means big potential for online grocers ready to meet the moment.

In the United States alone, online grocery sales are projected to grow at a rate of 18% per year through 2025 with revenue reaching $187.7 billion by 2024.

Over the last 2 years, online grocery app downloads have increased by 200% with 87% of customers saying they use their mobile devices for groceries.

The digital revolution has transformed the way customers shop for groceries, offering unprecedented convenience and flexibility. Mobile apps, AI-powered in-store recommendations, personalized experiences, efficient delivery systems and value-added services have set the standard for competition.

That’s why 150 million U.S customers say they prefer online groceries to in-store shopping.

In this blog we’ll look at what’s trending in grocery commerce, break down ideal customer expectations and benefits, and discuss the future of online groceries including supply chain management and best sustainability practices.

Current Trends in Grocery Commerce

  • Expanded delivery and subscription models are the key to competition. Major names like Walmart and Albertsons are offering coupons, shopping lists, product suggestions and special offers as part of their delivery services.
  • Use of AI, ML and automation is streamlining grocery operations. Retailers are using the technology to provide better customer care, inventory management, fraud detection, quality control and pricing.
  • Seamless omnichannel tactics give customers the choice of shopping off or online, seamlessly blending physical and digital consumer choices.
  • An increased interest in sustainability has consumers buying less meat and dairy and retailers providing more sustainably sourced options. 61% of consumers are aware of their favorite retailer’s sustainability practices.
  • Micro-fulfillment services or “dark stores” operating exclusively online are getting major funding as start-ups.

With evermore personalized user experiences and an expanding field of diverse options, customer expectations are evolving rapidly, which makes it imperative that online grocers adapt to meet them.

What do customers expect from online groceries in 2023?

Convenience, quality, and excellent customer service, as always. Now add to that…

  • Free and fast shipping
  • A variety of delivery options
  • Easy exchange and return policies
  • Personalized recommendations

Beyond the efficiency of time saved, online groceries broaden customer access with a wide product range, making it newly possible for even small stores to offer extensive selections and specialty items that meet diverse preferences.

In 2023, the most-purchased online grocery items included vitamins and supplements, rotisserie chicken, hair dye, high-end pet foods, cups of noodles, and nostalgic snacks like Ring Dings and Dunkaroos.

The same study showed customers love private label items whether shopping on a budget or not. 75% of customers plan to continue buying private-label items even after economic improvement, and 58% of retailers told the FDA they planned to expand their private-label offerings with new innovations.

The Future of Grocery Commerce

We’re in a big growth moment for online groceries which makes it vital for store owners to follow emerging trends. Here are a couple new technologies to keep an eye on…

Voice assistants and smart speakers that enable hands-free ordering and easeful reordering.

AI and ML that enhance personalization and inventory management, further improving the customer experience.

Augmented Reality (AR) that allows customers to visualize products and try them out virtually before buying. Smart home devices like pantry tracking systems will streamline reordering and subscription services.

Now is the time for store owners to optimize future growth by choosing the right eCommerce platform, one that utilizes developing technology to meet evolving customer expectations.

Top U.S eCommerce Grocery Shops to Follow

Instacart allows users to select from preferred nearby stores and provides frequent, detailed updates from shoppers to customers. Prices are notoriously inflated by fees, but the site has maintained popularity nonetheless.

Thrive Market provides a wide range of specialty products including their own branded items. Known for dry goods and all-natural household staples, Thrive does not offer refrigerated items like produce and dairy, though they do have a well-stocked freezer section.

Amazon Fresh offers a vast selection of products with quick and reliable delivery options true to the Amazon brand.

FreshDirect is an online grocer focusing on fresh and high-quality produce, meat, and seafood with next-day delivery in select areas. Known for offering everything from dragon fruit smoothie packs to Mardi Gras gumbo.

Top retailers know that the most important factor for Grocery Commerce is also the most basic, and that’s supply chain.

Efficient supply chain management is crucial for online stores to ensure product freshness, accurate inventory management, and timely delivery. Effective collaboration between suppliers, distributors, and retailers, coupled with advanced inventory management systems, is the best way to improve customer satisfaction, reduce waste, and optimize supply chain operations.

Reducing waste is important not just for managing supply but for customer loyalty, too.

Sustainability is a major factor when it comes to customer expectations. Store owners have every incentive to prioritize ethics, embracing environmentally friendly packaging, supporting local and organic products, reducing food waste, and implementing fair trade practices. Sustainable practices help create a positive brand image, meeting consumer expectations for where they spend their money.

The rapid evolution in grocery eCommerce has forever changed the way we shop for food. By leveraging the right platform, prioritizing sustainability, utilizing developing technology and understanding consumer expectations to meet them, grocery store owners can not only navigate the digital era but expand into it.

For guidance choosing the right platform, incorporating the latest trends and finding the competitive edge in this changing landscape, choose Ziffity.