NATURGUT is a leading organic supermarket in the Stuttgart region of Germany that has specialised in bringing the people of Stuttgart organic produce for over 20 years. For more than fifteen of those years, NATURGUT was an instore-only brand. In 2016, NATURGUT decided that it was time to develop its well-loved brand further with the launch of an eGrocery and delivery service, providing enhanced convenience for its current customers and the opportunity to reach new customers from further afield. Becoming an early adopter of e-commerce in this sector also proved beneficial in creating extra agility in the market.

Introducing e-commerce

The online shop would complement the instore offering and be managed within the grocery trader’s established infrastructure, with emporix brought in as the partner to develop the new digital platform for e-commerce.

Within just a few months a new website featuring the eGrocery facility was live and fully operational, giving customers the chance to browse NATURGUT’s product catalogue of fresh, organic produce on the device of their choice and to shop 24/7. Two of the grocer’s ten physical branches were allocated as picking stations where customer orders are picked and packed throughout the day at less busy times, ready to meet the customer’s preferred chosen delivery slot, including options for same-day. On receiving an order, the emporix grocery commerce automatically determines which products need to be picked in which branch by monitoring stock availability, service counters and advising on the most effective order in which to pick. 

Extra agility with a digital offering

With the launch of its online store, NATURGUT became one of the early adopters of e-commerce in the independent, organic grocery sector. Future-proofing the business with a digital offering proved to be an invaluable step forward as market conditions soon became more challenging than could have ever been expected.

Once COVID-19 restrictions came into play in early 2020, preventing customers from shopping instore during lockdown, NATURGUT’s eGrocery provision was already in place to aid the business to continue trading. Almost overnight there was a forced change in customer shopping habits, with demand for online shopping skyrocketing. With this came new challenges in adapting services to meet the surge in demand, with picking, packing and delivery schedules all needing to be adjusted. As both customers and staff become increasingly familiar with the mechanics of online grocery shopping, however, it is expected that the pandemic may have changed the way that we shop forever. This presents many opportunities to continuing developing eGrocery provision.

Capitalising on changing consumer habits

From here, the mix of both online and instore has become a key consideration in any growth strategy for a grocery business. The coronavirus may have forced retailers’ hands in changing the ways in which their businesses operate, fast-tracking online requirements, but once the initial impact has subsided there will be a lot of opportunities to continue developing the digital experience and increasing capacity to capitalise on these new habits.

NATURGUT’s eGrocery service is not only a great demonstration of how customers will indeed seek deliveries of fresh, organic produce from their favourite grocery providers as an extension of the instore experience, but also how being an early adopter of e-commerce provides extra agility for the business to respond to changing customer requirements.

Growing the online provision will be the next step on this journey, and emporix is continuing to work closely with NATURGUT in expanding its eGrocery services.

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