The Future of Grocery Shopping: Online Ordering is Taking Over – Is Your Store Ready?

With nearly 80% of Americans doing some of their shopping online, it’s important that every shop is ready for this change. The future of grocery shopping is in online ordering, whether stores are ready for these changes or not. The future of grocery stores needs to be a future of change unless they want to be left in the dust, as drones buzz about delivering milk.

Here are five ways to ensure that your grocery store is ready for changes coming to grocery shopping.

1. Get The Right Equipment

When you want your store to be ready for online grocery shopping, you’ll need to have plenty of tech equipment. The right equipment will make work easier and allow you to be on top of changes as they come. Do some research before you invest in technology.

At the very least, you’ll need some mobile devices that are dedicated to your online ordering. Much like with GrubHub and other companies, orders come into a dedicated device which your staff can use for fulfillment. With mobile devices, that interactive list is accessible why they traverse the store.

Some systems require barcode scanning to be added. While some devices can receive a simple add-on that will allow barcode scanning, that’s not the case for all devices. Be sure that the devices that you’re using for your online orders have that capability.

This allows for faster processing and easier inventory control. When you have control over your inventory, you can ensure that your store is updated in real time. This allows you to avoid conflicts where customers order items online that you don’t have in your store.

2. Put Aside Space and Staff

When you update your store for online ordering, you’ll need some additional space and additional staff.

You’ll need new spaces for your staff to work on putting together orders. They’ll need to be packed up securely and then stored, waiting to be delivered. Online order fulfilment will require you to add a region where you don’t clutter up lines or checkout areas.

You’ll also need to add new people to your staff. New staff members will be required to traverse the store to pick out items that are ordered. Your new staff requires different training than the rest of your staff.

Updates to your training material are required to handle the extra staff. They need support that is different from your typical customer service staff.

Make updates to your space to avoid problems handling the new volume of orders. Racks and storage spaces to hold perishables are required.

3. Make Way For Apps

When online ordering becomes the fashion for grocery shopping, stores get the opportunity to get more orders than ever. In exchange for this gift from the creators of online shopping sites, stores will pay a cut of their profits. This adds up quickly and not every store wants to give away hard earned profits.

The way to avoid this is to create your own app. Grocery stores in large cities are experimenting with technology to create apps that scan and weigh grocery items while shoppers walk around. Instead of collecting groceries into a basket, then standing in line to check out, shoppers can scan as they collect and speed up grocery shopping.

Apps are a steep hill for a small grocer to climb but for small urban chains, this is within reach. It provides competition to the large online ordering companies and protects your profits. It also creates an incentive for users to join by making shopping simpler.

4. Learn More About Layout

When you prepare for online ordering, you should talk to your staff after a few months. You’ll find that they have valuable feedback to help improve your store and the way it functions.

The layout is one of the most important tools for a grocery store. Making shoppers walk past snacks and high-profit items every time they want to buy milk is one way to make more money. Another way is to shape your layout around the way that your online order fulfilment staff needs it.

When online orders start to build up, the layout can cut down fulfilment time. When fulfilment time improves, more orders can be sent out. When more orders are sent out faster, more people will try out your services.

Good reviews and positive results generate more reviews and results. If you work to improve your layout to optimise for online orders, you’ll surprise customers at the kind of turnaround they can expect from your grocery store.

5. Watch Tech Trends

One of the smartest ways to prepare your grocery store for the future of grocery shopping is to watch emerging tech trends. If you know about tech, your spending improves and your efficiency grows.

In recent years, the use of virtual assistants like the Amazon Echo has changed the way that people search online. Natural search and voice search comes in the form of questions and phrases. Rather than loosely strung together keywords, you can expect more people to search for your company and products with a real question.

Shape your online efforts and promotions around answering common questions.

Wearables are another tech trend that’s sure to grow. Wearables like the Apple Watch provide people with tools that help with productivity and entertainment. If your app uses a grocery list that can be populated by the human voice, you can group together all of these efforts.

The Future Of Grocery Shopping is in the Air

Literally and figuratively, the future of grocery shopping is going to be in the air for years to come. Whether its the growing set of trends around mobile tech and wearables or the place for drones in grocery shopping, there are big changes coming. Being aware of changes is the best way to prepare your store for the shopping revolution coming.

If you’re still wondering the benefits of using an online ordering system, check out our latest guide for details.

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