Will Convenience Stores Be Replaced By Online Food Stores In Future?

June 16, 2015

Will Convenience Stores be Replaced by Online Food Stores in Future? A recent industry study has stated that online sales of groceries and other food products will increase by nearly 15 billion in forthcoming years as growing traffic woes and single parent families are finding it tough to waste time on standing at the aisles of convenience stores and grocery chains. Shoppers in general are getting tired of long queues in super markets and parking problems along with problems of deceptive pricing offered by wholesale grocers and food marts. Institute for Grocery Distribution states that online convenience is fast becoming the hottest growing sector in retail industry which will soon have turnover of several billion and will fulfill the grocery requirements of families and individuals in both rural and urban areas.


Budget stores with online presence


The recent economic crisis led to rapid changes in people’s buying habits across the world with growing consciousness about sticking to fulfillment of basic needs. Budget convenience chain stores which are offering low prices and small quantities along with home delivery options are finding takers around the world. The growth in ownership of smartphones and tablets which allow easy download of shopping applications has also led to growth in demand for online grocery shopping. Online shopping offers buyers the advantage of comparing prices available at various convenience stores in their neighborhood, before making the purchase at a place which give the best rate and quality.


Growth of convenience store hypermarkets into multi-service outlets


In recent years large format hypermarkets and supermarkets have broken down their services into multiple sections and now offer fast food sections and open air cafe with purchase of groceries and other convenience items. Most metro areas of United States are now serviced by state level or national level grocery chains like Peapod, Safeway, Amazon Fresh, Schwan’s, Fresh Direct and ShopFoodEx which services all 50 states across the nation. Though people are comfortable buying branded groceries with clear details about dates of manufacture, expiry and place of manufacture they are still not comfortable about ordering fresh produce like vegetables, fruits and dairy products.


Using local grocer’s online ordering system


Check with your local grocer or supermarket if it is part of a large chain or if they have a local delivery system. It is most likely that they will ask you to sign up and order for a specific quantity and then either deliver it themselves or ask a third party to make the delivery after picking up the ordered items from their store. If your local convenience store is a standalone shop then most likely it will not have an online delivery system as the economics will be beyond its capacity. To skirt this problem some local grocers have come up with an innovative idea wherein a shopper can order their products online and make the payment so their products are packed and ready to be picked up on the way home. While making purchases online through credit and debit card follow regular tips to avoid online frauds and scams.



Why online food stores are becoming popular


By making online purchases you are only looking at products you actually require instead of browsing across store shelves which helps you avoid regular bait and capture practices which convenience stores apply to make you buy things which may not be important. You are unlikely to be tempted by flashy new products or try campaigns as you are not hunting for bargains and new products.


Prices and quantities of products you need are clearly marked and with a ready shopping list you can add them to the shopping cart and checkout instead of being attracted by “every day low price” offers. The online purchase comfort allows you to buy small quantities several times instead of stocking up bulk purchases which can lead to wastage. As you are constantly looking at total bill amount while making purchases, it can help you get grocery purchases under control when you have a budget.


How to take advantage of online convenience stores


If you are among the first to try out online convenience shopping then seek out safe, non perishable and branded products on a small scale until you are sure that the delivery service understands your requirements in terms of brand and quality of delivery. Avoid non-packaged products like vegetables, fruits, eggs, milk, fish, deli meats, seafood as your idea of fresh may clash with theirs though they are more likely to rotate their products than your local store.


Why online convenience stores cannot replace real stores soon


The entire retail food distribution industry across the nation is supported by several thousand small and large convenience stores, grocery stores, specialty food stores and food service providers that rake in business of more than $3 million on a daily basis. Though super markets, hypermarkets and warehouse retailers and clubs sell a vast variety of products besides food products, these have not been able to replace the local grocery store as their turnover is slower and they tend to stock older stock than small stores. These days to increase their clientele, convenience store have shed their aura of fuel stores and have started offering multiple choices like fresh foods zones and juice fountains which provide ready to eat options for buyers on the go.


Large grocery store chains with branches across the nation or state have their own ready to eat food brands and dairy products which increase their clientele as now shoppers can relax after completing their purchases for coffee and other refreshments. To increase sales of top selling products or brands, convenience stores provide shelves to manufacturers or their merchandising agents so buyers do not have to hunt around across the store.


To provide their buyers with better priced convenience products, grocery distributors formed cooperatives like Associated Group and United Grocers which gave them greater purchasing power and control as they could now directly buy in bulk from manufacturers. These techniques adopted by convenience stores and other retailers help them provide products at a competitive price to buyers which may not be possible for online grocery store so people still divide their shopping into both online and direct modes.