Grocery  delivery  services,  once  considered  logistical  nightmares,  are  making  a slow comeback.    Younger  shoppers,  accustomed  to  buying  most  of  their purchases online, view the  Web  as  their  primary  method  of  shopping,  even  for groceries.    Walmart,  for  example,  is   testing  a  delivery  service  in  northern California,  called  Walmart  to  Go. AmazonFresh,  a  unit   of  Amazon,  for  the  past few  years  has  delivered  produce  in  the Seattle  area.    

Many  grocers  are  struggling  with whether  or  not  to  compete  in  this area,  and  if it logistically is possible  to be  successful.    Most grocers  feel  that customers  want  the opportunity  to preview   their  produce  and  meats  in the  store,  but  don’t  want  to alienate the  core  group  of  customers   that would  prefer  to  shop  online.  With grocery  items already  at  low  margins, many  grocers  are  concerned  with adding fuel costs.    In  addition, some grocers  are  only  able  to  offer  a  4 hour  window  for grocery  delivery, which eliminates  the   convenience  factor  for  many  customers. Furthermore,  in  most communities,  customers  only  have  to  travel  ten  minutes   or so  to  get  to  a  grocery store.

For  right  now,  grocery  delivery  services  might  only  appeal  to younger  customers on  the  go,  or  consumers  who   are  homebound.    But  other  grocers  are  viewing online grocery  delivery  services  as  an  opportunity  for  growth  and   expansion  in  the next  decade.

Discussion  Questions:

1. Do  you  think  that  online  grocery  services  will  grow?

Kavita  Kumar,  “Grocery  Delivery  Services  Draw  New  Interest  By  Online   Shoppers,” St.  Louis  Post  Dispatch,  November  6,  2011.