2020 Grocery Trends: Click and Collect

2020 grocery industry trends aren’t entirely futuristic. Some of these trends are just an advanced version of what they were when they first appeared on the retail scene. Case in point: click and collect.

This technology is nothing new. Big box retailers like Target have been doing it seamlessly for a few years now, allowing customers to buy products online and pick them up in store without having to pay for shipping. 

Click and collect has made a name for itself with large grocers, but it’s time for independent grocers to get in on the trend as well.

What’s the background on click and collect?

Click and collect has had huge growth over the past five years, even outside of the grocery space. Though the concept is more popular in Europe than in the United States, people are starting to become familiar with and trusting of the technology. They know that their order will be fulfilled by the same employees that they trust to handle their in-store needs at their local supermarket. This isn’t technology for technology’s sake – it truly is a way to make the shopping experience more convenient for the customer.

With growing interest and trust comes growing innovation. The percentage of grocers offering click and collect programs “grew 53.3% from 15% to 23% in 2016”.

Who is doing click and collect well?

As I mentioned earlier, the retailers who are comfortable with click and collect are nationwide grocers and big box retailers.

Walmart is absolutely dominating the click and collect market – more than 40% of click and collect users have utilized the service through Walmart.

Kroger is also making a name for itself in click and collect with their service ClickList, with 1,000 stores optimized for click and collect by 2017. To put it lightly, they’re way ahead of the grocery industry curve.

Don’t despair if you haven’t integrated a click and collect option into your store’s business model just yet. The benefit of having larger retailers like Walmart and Kroger jump on the trend first is twofold:

  1. They had to test the waters and spend the time and money researching and testing the concept.
  2. They’ve created increased familiarity with the concept among customers, making their eventual transition to your click and collect offering seamless

What are the pros and cons of click and collect in grocery?

Click and collect is becoming ubiquitous in retail, but it does have its ups and downs. Let’s explore.

Advocates for click and collect in grocery talk about how it aligns exactly with a consumer’s desire to online shop over shopping in-store. In a way, it is the convergence of the convenience of digital and the in-store experience that the retail world is focused on.

But back to convenience – click and collect is the epitome of low friction shopping. To customers, it feels quicker than waiting for a grocery delivery, and quicker than wandering through the aisles of your store, searching for the items they’re specifically looking for.

On the downside, click and collect requires technological implementation, as so many of 2020’s grocery trends do. This is the main reason why larger grocers have been able to dominate this space so far. However, it’s becoming possible for independent grocers to get in on the action. Vendors like Instacart are beginning to offer click and collect services for grocers who are looking to outsource.