Master In-Store Fulfillment for Online Grocery

ONLINE GROCERY ordering is enjoying a surge in popularity. Call it a “20-year overnight success.”

Driven by the aggressive actions of,, Kroger’s ClickList and Instacart (among many, many others), supermarket operators are rushing to establish “Click & Collect” service offerings with scant consideration of their impact on store operations.

In-store order picking of online grocery orders puts enormous stress on inventory management. It can create a troublesome disconnect between the digital ordering process and item availability. Item substitutions and out-of-stocks are the norm, not the exception. This is bad for customer service and costly for store operations.

Shopper expectations about item availability for online grocery are being driven much, much higher by their digital experiences. A service standard experienced anywhere is expected everywhere. Just because grocery shoppers seem complacent about persistent 8.3% out-of-stocks in the store does not mean they will accept such failures on-line. If you can’t confirm items are available for purchase at the moment their order is placed, your competitor is a click away.

This is becoming the critical In-Store Implementation issue of the present era. It compels supermarket operators to take a fresh look at inventory management and automated ordering practices. To succeed with online grocery, real-time, store-level perpetual inventory – once considered an attainable luxury – is now an absolute necessity for survival.

Are you ready for Click. Confirm. Collect? Check out this post and downloadable Gold Paper from VSN Strategies to learn more.

What Amazon and Whole Foods wish they knew about in-store fulfillment

James Tenser

2 Responses to “Master In-Store Fulfillment for Online Grocery

  • How to combine online grocery with in-store implementation is one of the biggest challenges/opportunities for planogrammers and visual merchandisers today. To what degree, if any, should online planograms seek to duplicate in-store displays? As the online market matures, how much of total grocery will be done this way? How many customers will use both options from time to time. And are the profit margins the same for the grocer through each process? All good questions that will need to be answered by planogrammers.

    • ISISitePro
      2 years ago

      Great observations, Leslie.
      The link between the online catalog and the assortment on store shelves is a difficult puzzle to solve.
      When shoppers order online for store fulfillment (delivery or click-and-carry) an accurate read of on-shelf availability is essential.
      Merchandising for mobile screens is qualitatively different from the language of mass display. I believe a personally-curated presentation of the assortment is a requirement for digital grocery. The alternative is a time-consuming search through thousands of items.
      The wrinkle is how should the shelf presentation be refined to allow for items that are ordered digitally?

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