A long-time Rev member company, Rosie provides an e-commerce platform for independent grocers. Prior to the pandemic, Rosie’s clients typically observed 1-3% of sales coming from e-commerce. As consumers began avoiding grocery shopping in-person, e-commerce sales skyrocketed. The average basket size for online orders is now five to six times larger than if a consumer were shopping in store with no sign of slowing. Nickitas predicts e-commerce will represent 10-15% of sales post-pandemic.
“They’re not just renting these customers and then they’re going away, they’re holding on to them. This is a really sticky customer and the independent is getting more share of wallet. They’re holding onto that customer more than ever before,” said Nickitas to WGB.
Nickitas noted that customer segments have shifted as well. Previously, online grocery shopping was predominantly popular with young families and working professionals. This is still true, but today “empty nesters” aged 55-75 are the second largest demographic of online shoppers, a trend Nickitas believes will maintain itself post-pandemic.
At the beginning of the pandemic, when sales were 15 times their usual levels, Nickitas noted that consumers were filling their online shopping carts with ready-to-eat meals. As food service and dining options continue to be limited, it appears that more and more consumers are becoming acquainted with their kitchens, as items like flour and yeast have surged in popularity. Nickitas warns that the pandemic won’t last forever and grocery stores need to be able to compete when restaurant and food service options spring back.
“Grocery stores have to focus on catering, fresh and ready prepared foods and offering meal solutions to their shoppers, so that those behaviors become sticky long after this is over,” he said. “I think that a lot of retailers still have work to do in those areas. But those are the areas where they can most differentiate against an Amazon and a Walmart to provide something differentiated to their community.”
For more insights, read the full WGB interview with Rosie’s CEO here.