The Future of Fresh Fulfillment | Fresh eCommerce

Grocery Images (4)

Over the next few weeks, join ADC as we dive deeper into the future of fresh fulfillment. In this blog, we focus on the eCommerce boom.

It’s estimated that there are approximately 2 billion digital buyers on the planet, with that number only set to increase. There’s no denying that eCommerce has dramatically changed the retail landscape. At any hour of the day, often regardless of where they are, shoppers can research products, place orders, and complete purchases.

Online shopping offers ease and convenience but does have some shortcomings. Digital replication of the in-store shopping experience has proven elusive. Furthermore, especially for eCommerce food retailers, there’s a consistent struggle to find the right balance of overhead with affordable prices. The nature of food products presents inherent challenges for online sellers, but consumer demand for fresh food continues to push retailers toward innovations and solutions that can make delivering fresh produce as common as delivering a new shirt or pair of shoes.

The Food eCommerce Boom

eCommerce is essentially defined as an online purchase that is either delivered to the consumer or picked up in-store by the consumer. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, online grocery ordering was trending upward globally, and the Food Marketing Institute had estimated that 20% of all U.S. grocery shopping would be handled online by the year 2025, making it a $100 billion business. Once COVID hit, online grocery shopping escalated at rates no one could have predicted. The growth of eGrocery sales that were expected over a 10-year timeframe occurred in only 6 months forcing many retailers to reprioritize their growth strategies to expand online and invest in new capabilities for online ordering and fulfillment.

To quickly meet the demand for online options, those retailers who were not prepared, turned to third-party marketplace services such as Instacart, DoorDash, etc. These types of eCommerce grocery fulfillment and delivery services allowed food retailers across the globe with a ready-made solution to get them online quickly as many weren't ready to pick, pack, and prepare online orders in-store, and without an innovative platform to assist the process, fulfillment can be a costly endeavor.

As retailers have adapted to the eCommerce boom and continue to evolve their online strategy, many are incorporating a more diverse approach offering options with third-party marketplace providers as well as in-store fulfillment with delivery and curbside pick-up.

With more than a year's worth of data in the books, most experts agree that online sales are here to stay, as illustrated in the chart from Mercatus, but despite these enormous gains, there are still challenges facing eCommerce for fresh and prepared foods.

curbside pickup

Stay tuned each week for the Future of Fresh Fulfillment series or click here to learn more about ADC's innovative grocery eCommerce fulfillment platform.