Similar to countless other contactless services this year, trends in both grocery pickup and delivery have risen to prominence. Though, unlike other fads that eventually fizzled out — kale, anyone? — this one doesn’t seem like it will fade away anytime soon.

Customers love contactless services, so whether we like it or not, pickup and delivery are here to stay. As with any change in the market, the key to adaptation is flexibility. Offering flexible buying options — like curbside pickup and home delivery — will keep your customers happy and coming back for more… even if they’re not physically coming into your store.

Here’s what you need to know about adapting to the changing landscape in grocery delivery and pickup services.

Grocery Pickup & Delivery Services on the Rise

There’s no question that online grocery services have had a meteoric rise to stardom within the average American household. In fact, Tech Crunch reports that online grocery sales dramatically increased this year as spring turned into summer, and in June of 2020, sales hit a record high of $7.2 billion. That’s a 600% increase in sales compared to August of 2019!

This explosion seemed to happen overnight, but in reality, home delivery and grocery pickup services have been steadily growing in popularity for some time now.

From Humble Beginnings to Soaring Heights

Whether or not you remember the sheer ingenuity of World Wide Waiter‘s meal delivery service all the way back in 1995, the brand set the stage for companies like DoorDash, Imperfect Foods, and Instacart to steal the show about two decades later.

For online grocery services, in particular, a big market shift happened in 2017 with Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods. Not long after the deal was done, Amazon and Whole Foods began offering same-day grocery delivery. Now in 2020, they even offer one-hour grocery pickup for which, Amazon claims, most customers will only need to wait one minute upon arrival to receive their orders.

Although many retailers struggle to compete with Amazon, delivery and pickup services give grocers a fighting chance.

Tips for Accommodating the Grocery Pickup Trend

When it comes to grocery pickup and delivery services, grocers have a variety of options. In-house grocery pickup is a simple yet effective way to explore your options to figure out what works best for your business.

Target, for example, offers a Drive Up service that allows customers to order through the store’s app and have their orders brought right out to their cars. Target is a large corporation, but stores of all sizes can offer similar services that work within their means. Smaller grocers can have their customers order online and simply call the store once they’ve arrived instead of checking in on an app.

Curbside and store pickup services allow you to control how customers see and experience your brand. When you work with a third party, though, that can be more difficult. However, the convenience that these third parties offer retailers and customers alike is usually unmatched.

Many businesses choose to partner with a third-party company to provide inexpensive delivery to their customers. Chipotle, for instance, works exclusively with DoorDash and offers delivery for just $1. Likewise, grocers can partner with services like Instacart or Shipt to provide their customers with quick and convenient grocery delivery.


How Will You Adapt?

The market is changing. The demand for delivery, pickup, and even drive-through services continues to rise, and grocers must adapt to stay competitive. Otherwise, they’ll be at the mercy of big brands like Amazon and Whole Foods.

Luckily, accommodating these trends is actually pretty easy. Setting up an in-house curbside pickup service is a simple and effective way to satisfy customers looking for a slightly more convenient experience. Additionally, partnering with a third-party delivery service can provide your customers with a quick and inexpensive way to get groceries delivered right to their front doors.

At the end of the day, though, each store is unique. Explore your options and find what works for you.

Has your store implemented grocery pickup or delivery services? Let us know in the comments!