New York-based tech firm Chicory predicts that a coronavirus outbreak in the United States will be a major catalyst for widespread online grocery adoption by consumers. With increased usage and orders, the company sees brands supporting retailers with media strategies to push ecommerce options to consumers who choose to buy online instead of visiting brick-and-mortar stores.
“As evidenced in China and now the United Kingdom, coronavirus causes inventory wipeouts in grocery stores, as worried consumers stock up on nonperishable foods, toiletries and anti-bacterial and sanitizing products,” noted Nick Minnick, Chicory’s director of retailer development. “However, for those living in food and retail deserts in rural areas and inner cities, online grocery will be that much more important to ensure that they receive the supplies needed. And for those in more populated areas, human-to-human contact will be inevitable in brick and mortar, and people will most likely quarantine themselves to avoid spreading the virus. Retailers who don’t offer online ordering and delivery, or only offer limited options, will experience detrimental hits to sales as consumers opt for competitors who offer ecommerce options and delivery, like Amazon and Walmart. Additionally, retailers who have their own fulfillment centers fully stocked with packaged foods, like pasta, beans and rice, will benefit as local store inventory dwindles and shelves are wiped clean.”
According to Chicory, densely populated areas are already experiencing higher volumes of online grocery orders as fear about the pandemic spreads. In fact, when major news and updates go out regarding local coronavirus cases and global updates in large cities like Chicago and Sacramento, grocery orders dramatically spike after two to three days. While spikes aren’t uncommon, the company usually doesn’t see them at this frequency, and with such large rates of change.
In a recent article, Progressive Grocer also explored the possible long-term effect on online grocery shopping adoption among consumers as a result of their starting to use it regularly during a coronavirus outbreak.
An expert in content-to-commerce for grocery, Chicory partners with leading CPG brands like General Mills and grocery retailers like Wakefern to deliver highly relevant ads to consumers when they’re planning their grocery purchases.