Online grocery ordering and delivery, and shopping, are witnessing increasing demand while traditional brick-and-mortar retail outlets are suffering a big blow in decreasing sales as more consumers opt to stay in with takeaways to avoid contracting the recent coronavirus outbreak. In the latest setback to retailers already reeling from the shift to online shopping, an increasing number of shoppers are deliberately shunning high streets and busy shopping places due to fears of contracting the bug. These developments have certainly resulted in new customer behaviors never witnessed before in the retail industry.
A Surge in Non-Contact Food Delivery
Requests for non-contact food delivery have certainly been rising in China since the coronavirus hit the country. That means leaving the package at specified locations, such as in front of a building or at the customer’s doorstep. Similarly, the increasing number of confirmed cases of coronavirus infections in the U.S. increases the possibility for shoppers to stay at home and order in. This development could be beneficial to online food/grocery ordering and delivery services’ sales during this period and in the near future depending on the duration of the outbreak as well as the extent of the impact on consumers’ behaviors.
Panic Buying on the Rise
Recent news reports indicate that retailers are offering online shopping services are also witnessing a massive increase in demand in the U.S. However, many retailers who don’t have a firm footing in online sales and delivery are having trouble meeting the high demand, which is causing delays and limited delivery available in some areas. Customers at both brick-and-mortar and online stores are scooping up food, household supplies, and other essential items while leaving behind empty store shelves.
Panic buying is making things more complicated for online delivery services when it comes to keeping up. For example, some leading online retail platforms have issued shoppers with notices on their websites indicating that delivery availability may be limited in certain areas. In some areas, customers have to wait 24 hours rather than the usual 1 to 2 hours to get an open delivery window on some online retailing platforms.
Staying Ahead of the Curve
Despite these challenges, some online food/grocery ordering and delivery platforms have been positioning their businesses precisely for this kind of phenomenon. For instance, Mercato is one awesome grocery delivery service that has been connecting independent groceries and food artisans with consumers. The service is a modern means for people to buy locally sourced ingredients and food items by equipping high-end grocers with a user-friendly platform of e-commerce, marketing, and service tools designed to ease online ordering and delivery right to the customer’s doorstep.
The service is currently available in over 5,400 zip codes and connects with customers with 744 independent grocers and shops selling over 479,000 products. As rising demand for grocery delivery increases due to coronavirus fears, services such as Mercato will continue to experience increased pressure. Fortunately, such established online grocers have established strategies to help shoppers by presenting options like bundled pantry staples they may wish to buy and “leave at my door delivery” to avoid any risk of contact with contamination. Lastly, Mercato is well-positioned to deal with service disruptions associated with the coronavirus outbreak given its vast network of vendors.
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