As countries around the world begin loosening elements of their lockdowns, individuals and organisations are wondering what ‘the new normal’ will look like, including those asking what grocery shopping trends after Coronavirus will be. 

Panic buying of particular products may have subsided, but there still seems no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic will change elements of the industry for the long haul. 

In this blog we look at what grocery shopping trends after Coronavirus are set to include.

An uplift in online shopping

The demand for online grocery shopping has spiked enormously during the pandemic. Many grocery giants have had to increase recruitment of pickers, packers and drivers, as well as rationing out online delivery slots to the most vulnerable or needy customers. Supply and demand will level out as shoppers  settle into a new normal. But will they level out into a place where online grocery shopping is more popular than previously? 

For those asking what grocery shopping trends after Coronavirus will look like, we would certainly say increased online orders are here to stay. A combination of consumer reluctance to spend time in potentially crowded supermarkets and grocery stores, as well as greater numbers of people working from home and therefore able to take delivery of groceries during the day, should mean that high demand is sustained.

Think local

Many consumers have also begun using more local grocery businesses in the aftermath of forced closures. We expect to see people shopping more from individual, local specialists, or greater demand for the larger grocers and supermarkets to offer a localised range, both in-store and importantly online.

A collaborative approach

On a related point, there may be more opportunities for smaller local businesses to work together, pooling their strengths and product ranges to offer a service which can compete with bigger supermarkets on scale, whilst retaining the specialist focus and local angle of individual, smaller businesses. Hungri.ly is a great example of this happening in the Basingstoke area of the United Kingdom. The business works with numerous local shops and wholesalers and offers delivery within a 15-mile radius of their local area. By creating a single online storefront for multiple businesses, such initiatives can offer a localised and personal experience and one which should appeal long after the pandemic is over.

Going green

There has been discussion in many quarters of the impact on air quality as a result of fewer vehicles being on the roads, particularly in towns and cities. Might we see a greater push for environmentally-friendly practices within businesses? Grocery businesses offering home deliveries will need to think more carefully about using non-polluting vehicles, optimising their routes for greater efficiency, and using environmentally-friendly packaging.

Grocery shopping trends after Coronavirus: The importance of a specialist approach

All of these changes will require grocery businesses to deploy highly specialised ecommerce functionality, designed to meet the specific nuances of grocery as opposed to other retail sectors. 

This includes the ability to sell goods by weight rather than just volume and the ability to manage a different invoice value on delivery to the one at the point of order. It also requires the capability to support on-the-day substitutions when picking takes place and doing this in a way which is transparent for the customer and easy for them to accept or refuse. 

It also means supporting efficient wave picking in-store, whereby all groceries for all orders are collected at once, so as to avoid disrupting the shopping experience for in-store customers. Indeed, this will be particularly important whilst social distancing measures are still in place in public spaces. Perishable goods and those which need to be refrigerated or frozen must, of course, be picked and packed as close to the delivery time as possible and ideally packed and delivered in a cooled environment. 

In short, grocery businesses looking to predict and adapt to the ‘new normal’ now should be thinking very carefully about e-commerce functionality which is precisely tailored to the unique challenges and processes of their sector. This can’t be achieved with industry neutral ‘out-of-the-box’ e-commerce software and requires grocery-specific services and experience from your e-commerce partner.

To learn more about adapting your grocery business to this new normal, get in touch with emporix today.