Article by Nathan Males, Myfoodlink CEO
It's traditional in January, we think, to spend some time thinking about what the year ahead will hold. Here at Myfoodlink we're also interested in seeking out what trends will likely occur in online grocery retail in 2017, so we can work with our customers to make the most of what's happening.
To begin with, let's take a quick overview. Online grocery retail has been widely reported to have been slow on the uptake here in Australia. This has been for various reasons and, quite aside from logistical aspects in picking and distributing orders, customers in Australia are entrenched in a habit of physical grocery shopping.
But this doesn’t mean businesses shouldn’t offer online shopping! In any situation there are customers who are more inclined to shop in store and those who are more inclined to shop online. By offering online shopping you can attract those customers who are not able to easily visit your store — for example: parents with young children, regular produce orders from restaurants and cafes, or deliveries for at-home care providers. Think carefully about which customers you could attract by offering online and how this can grow your market share.
Those customers who shop online will become more confident with the service, driving larger sales, and take up from new customers will continue to grow. Growth from Millennial shoppers will be highest as these digital natives look to online options for everyday tasks.
At Myfoodlink we consistently see our customers develop a core base of repeat customers, whilst continuing to attract new business. This demonstrates to us that the interest is there, and once customers try an online grocery service they are likely to continue with it.
Digital advertising for online products will continue to grow and augment the traditional retail marketing mix, in order to capture online customers. In particular the model of social media, direct email marketing and Google AdWords are expected to be popular with business owners looking to attract online customers.
At Myfoodlink we can provide advice and management as to how to get your business started in digital marketing. Customers increasingly look to online first when searching for information, so work to get your business in front of the right people during this process.
Fulfilling online orders is often the most expensive part of the process; where customers would usually pick their items from the shelf themselves, here a staff member must do it in their stead. Investment in increasing efficiency for picking, packing and delivery will continue to be a key concern and it be interesting to see what strategies emerge. In particular data on how efficient 'dark stores' operated by the majors, when it becomes available.
At Myfoodlink our backoffice platform and stock locations make the picking and packing of an order efficient, and makes adjusting orders very straightforward when edits to an order are needed.
Those customers who are shopping online will increasingly look to mobile, not desktop, solutions. Customers increasingly spend more time searching and shopping via mobile devices then desktop devices. Investment in 'mobile first' designs and solutions will be a big trend into the future.
All Myfoodlink online shopping platforms and websites are mobile optimised, and we can produce bespoke shopping applications for iOS and Android for your business too.
Subscriptions to online options is nothing new — from beauty brands to wine cases to veggie boxes, customers are familiar with the concept and happy to fork out a pre-determined fee. In particular this year we expect to see the popularity of 'meal boxes' continue, for example see Fresh Direct and Marley Spoon. These are products which are very straightforward for grocery stores to replicate.
Subscription boxes and services are easily included in your Myfoodlink online store with our Repeating Orders feature. This allows customers to set a repeating order for a product, such as a fruit box, and to easily edit their repeating order if they should need to.
You know how you Google a product or search for it online, and then it appears in advertising side bars in your browser? Expect to see more promotions and special offers along these lines in 2017. In online grocery, identifying groups of customers with particular characteristics and marketing directly to them is a great way to increase their spend.
The team at Myfoodlink can help you identify SEO and Analytics data relevant to your business and customers to better promote your products to customers online.
Customers love the idea of ordering their groceries in the morning and picking it up or having it delivered later in the day; particularly after-work options. We will see a rise in online stores offering same day delivery for orders placed in a certain time frame and the continued growth of same day click and collect models.
With the Myfoodlink online shopping platform our Delivery Matrix makes creating time slots for delivery and pick ups a breeze. You can set multiple pick up and delivery options throughout the day including numerous options for same day orders.