People Aren’t Buying Groceries Online Because They Want To Squeeze Their Own Fruits And Vegetables

Image courtesy of Susanne

Do you trust someone else, even a full-time order-picker working for a grocery store or delivery company, to pick out your fruit and vegetables? Resistance to having someone pick out your fresh food is apparently the main thing keeping most consumers away from grocery shopping online, either for pickup or delivery.

As Walmart and Amazon both build out drive-thru grocery pickup outlets, and Amazon expands its grocery delivery coverage areas and spreads the price out monthly, all of these services need to actually get customers.

The Wall Street Journal reports that online orders of groceries aren’t even close to catching on nationwide: they comprise about 0.16% of all food and beverage sales, and only about 4% of shoppers in a Nielsen poll said that they had ordered any groceries online in the last year. They might be more popular in dense urban areas, but most Americans have cars.

Consumers’ preference for picking out our own produce could be good news for grocery stores, since even people who do receive grocery deliveries go to traditional supermarkets to pick up fresh items. That’s part of why Amazon wants to get into the convenience store business.

The problem, though, is that the produce section of a grocery store isn’t very profitable: it’s meant to draw people in and spend money in the more profitable parts of the store. Even Walmart is trying to invest in better quality produce that they can slap a “local” label on to draw shoppers in… and keep them browsing the rest of the store.

Supermarkets’ Best Weapon Against E-tailers: Produce [Wall Street Journal]

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