When the fridge is empty, and you are too tired to put on real clothes to go shopping, reaching for the phone to use a grocery app is an easy solution. You are not alone when you do this. According to a study from eMarketer, grocery app usage will grow by 50% this year, and 18 million Americans will order food this way. However, brick-and-mortar grocery stores are not going away and can take advantage of this industry shift.
The forecast from eMarketer for grocery apps continues to be positive. The study reveals that one out of five adults will order food through a grocery app next year. “Shoppers are becoming more comfortable with ordering online in general, and grocery is a part of that,” said eMarketer senior analyst Patricia Orsini. In addition, the study shows that grocery app usage among Americans will grow in the future from 18 million in 2018 to 30.4 million in 2022.
In general, mobile shopping is on the rise. For example, Forrester predicts that smartphones will affect more than $1 trillion in U.S. retail sales this year. Globally, mobile e-commerce sales reached $1.4 trillion in 2017 and are expected to increase to $3.5 trillion in 2021.
For several years, many retailers have offered mobile coupons and other offers through their apps.
As people become more comfortable with ordering food through an app, grocery stores are taking advantage of this. eMarketer defines a grocery app as one that allows you to order fresh food from a retailer on demand. This definition includes AmazonFresh, Peapod,
One of the biggest reasons for the growth of grocery app usage is convenience. Shoppers can choose to have fresh produce delivered to their homes, or they can pick it up in the stores after ordering. Brick-and-mortar grocery stores have an advantage in this case because shoppers are already familiar with them and usually trust the quality of the produce. On the other hand, apps like Peapod do not have a physical local presence.
Although apps can provide another important source of revenue for grocery stores, their design and customer service can make or break a shopper’s experience. Nielsen points out: “Functionality and ease of use should be top priorities in website and app design, help should be readily available, and the checkout process should be simple and secure.” Shoppers want apps that are easy to navigate and understand.
As grocery app usage expands, shoppers can expect to see stores becoming more innovative. For instance, Kroger plans to build high-tech warehouses thanks to its new partnership with Ocado, where robots will help pack grocery orders for faster delivery. Grocery apps are not going away, and you can expect to see more of them in the future.