Consumers’ patience begins to wear thin, and they continue to do their grocery trips in person or use curbside pickup, another compromise. The true promise of ecommerce is that it should be cheaper and more convenient to get your products delivered right to your doorstep than at the brick-and-mortar store, with no fees.
To accomplish this will require a direct-to-consumer technology company to come in and restructure the entire ecommerce framework within the constraints of a single small ecommerce warehouse – inventory control to reduce substitutions, manual or automated pick to reduce costs, and last-mile logistics to doorstep with its own drivers.
Robotics and curbside pickup aren’t going to fulfill the promise of ecommerce for the grocery industry; they’re just temporary solutions in encouraging more online ordering with better efficiency. To truly deliver on the promise of grocery ecommerce is going to require a completely different infrastructure and new technology to get food from local and national suppliers to customers’ doorsteps, on time, fresh, and more cheaply than if they went to the store.