When in the grocery industry, it is necessary to hold many contracts from farmers to national suppliers, it can be a lot to keep track of, especially as your operation grows. All of these separate contracts end in a product being placed on a shelf. However, when venturing into the realm of e-commerce, grocers need to form an agreement with software as a service(SaaS). This software is often located on a tablet and organizes your e-commerce operation from order, to cart, to customer. So, it is imperative that you pick the right one. Here is our guide to building your online shopping platform and choosing software to help your operation take off.
Grocery E-Commerce Guide to Software and Fulfillment Service
Know what you want from your program:
Your online platform will function as your direct link to your customers. It is imperative that you take the customer experience into account when deciding the build of your shopping platform. Some things to consider when building this includes:
- Catalogs of goods
- Weekly sales ads
- Referring to previous shopping lists
- Click to order items
- Reserving pickup or delivery times
- Editing orders after placement
- Asking questions
- Accessing coupons and promotions
- Searching for nutritional information
These platforms are also, intern in charge of fulfilling customer orders and linking your staff to customers. This allows them a direct platform between staff and customers to okay substitutions and to track inventory automatically.
How do I select my platform?
SaaS is a digital method for delivering supporting software. Meaning, it is a cloud-based digital program. It is run through a third party and handled in company servers and data centers that are offsite. So, be sure to check on the customer service capabilities of the company. Having a company with a reasonable amount of clients and a sizeable customer service base ensures that any issue with your online store can be fixed quickly.
What are some examples of Grocery E-Commerce Programs?
In fall 2016, IGA launched its platform for online shopping called IGA Groceries Online (IGA GO) in partnership with the Freshop and Digital Foodie (now Digital Goodie) online shopping apps. (16) IGA GO makes it possible for a single grocery store, such as the Granite Falls IGA Market -- located in the Snohomish County, Washington, the town of Granite Falls (population about 3,500) -- to offer an online shopping program.
ASG hired Self Point in spring 2017 to provide an online shopping platform for member stores interested in expanding into e-commerce. Brooklyn’s Met Fresh is a member that uses Self Point services for its online shopping app and home delivery. (18)
Platform companies frequently in the news due to partnerships with large corporations include FreshDirect (Amazon), Instacart (Kroger), and Shipt (Target). Walmart partners with several e-commerce delivery companies, including DoorDash and Google’s Waymo.
App-platform companies primarily affiliated with independents and small chains include Mercato (mainly designed for specialty grocers), SelfPoint (the Piggly Wiggly franchise is a client) and Rosie, which frequently pops up in the news about independent grocers launching online shopping.
Tech Partners Relationships
Brick Meets Click is a grocery industry consulting firm. In an interview with David Makar, director of marketing for Rosie, Makar stressed that a feeling of partnership matters. He suggested that a good tech partner should do these four things:
1. Stick with you and provide ongoing support as your company’s program grows
2. Understand many kinds of grocery stores and market populations as well as your company’s market niche
3. Keep improving its product and maintain “a strong relationship” with other software services you use, such as point-of-service, wholesaler, and customer loyalty programs, and
4. Be able to provide advice “from marketing to operations to profitability” based on analyzing your data.