The retail sector has undergone a massive transformation in recent years amid the soaring popularity of online shopping, with consumers increasingly going online as a first port of call when looking to make a purchase.
Grocery shopping is no exception – whereas foot traffic was once prized, now online traffic is becoming just an important – and in keeping pace with the online rush, retailers are staking out digital territory, delivering services designed to make the shopping process more convenient.
Online grocery shopping is growing in concert with an ever-increasing variety of smart devices that now complement desktop computers and laptops, along with the increasing availability of faster, anywhere and any time home and mobile broadband internet services.
Presence is everything in retail, and pride of place on respective computer and smart device screens currently represents some of the hottest retail space around.
Given the current digital rush, is it time to go online to get the weekly shopping done? And, if so, what’s on offer from retailers?
Beyond bricks-and-mortar: Online shopping growth
Online shopping now complements more traditional retail models, and companies across a range of industries – from banking through to electricity retailers through to mobile phone operators – are seeking to establish and consolidate an online presence.
Exclusively online operators have also emerged in the digital age, taking the competition to their bricks-and-mortar counterparts, with shoppers increasingly inclined to go online in seeking out the best deal.
Recent Bank of New Zealand figures shed light on the popularity of online shopping in New Zealand, revealing that in March total online retail spending by New Zealanders was up 17 per cent year-on-year, continuing a strong growth pattern observed thus far over the course of the year.
At a local level, the Bank of New Zealand figures for the month showed a significant difference in growth rates between online and traditional bricks-and-mortar shopping, with spending at local online retailers up 12 per cent year-on-year and spending at local bricks-and-mortar stores up 4 per cent.
Looking more specifically at the supermarket sector, the figures show that groceries and liquor outstripped overall growth, rising 23 per cent year-on-year.
How about shopping from your fridge?
A vast array of connected devices are steadily finding their way into all corners of homes around the country, with the kitchen being no exception.
Indeed, many kitchen appliances are now being released with in-built Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, providing functionality such as remote operation, with these new features not only changing the way that we use appliances, but also having the potential to deliver new services.
Falling into this category is Samsung’s Family Hub refrigerator, launched late last year in New Zealand, which Samsung describes as a “sophisticated multi-tasker that reconnects families, organises groceries and home tasks, and provides entertainment”.
Sporting a 21.5-inch full-HD LCD screen, equipped with wireless internet connectivity, and linking with devices such as smartphones, it provides tools for managing groceries, and can be used for online grocery shopping.
Digitally linking the kitchen to the supermarket – as retailers collaborate with technology companies, increasingly employing smart capabilities in delivering their services, it is now certainly a case of watch this space.
Countdown online grocery shopping
Countdown provides an online shopping service via its website, stating that it “is packed full of features to make online grocery shopping quick and easy”. Consumers will need to register, providing their details including their phone number and address, and then login to start shopping.
Once logged in, customers can search for products via the search box near the top of the page, and have a number of options, such as sorting by price and alphabetically, when browsing for items from the results provided, while results are also broken down by department/aisle/shelf.
Customers can click on an item to bring up product information, and can select the quantity of each item they require, then clicking the “add to trolley” button. Aiding the shopping process, customers can refer to previously saved shopping lists and past orders, going to the favourites section, using lists as a base for their order.
Having selected the items they want, customers can navigate to the checkout, at which point they will be asked to review their order.
Customers can also write specific comments and instructions via a space next to each item, and have the option of clicking a “subs” box, meaning that a reasonable substitution can be made if a selected item is unavailable.
Payment can be made by credit card or direct debit, with customers able to specify the delivery date and time.
In addition to home delivery, customers also have the option of using click & collect, ordering their groceries online and going in-store to pick them up.
New World online grocery shopping
New World offers the option of online shopping at selected stores in the greater Wellington area, with customers able to register and sign-in via its website (customers can also shop as a “guest”, without going through the full registration process, however will not have access to a number of options).
Via New World’s online shopping website, customers can search for products via the search box at the top of the website page, and can select Start Shopping, selecting a category from a drop-down menu, which in turn brings up additional sub-categories.
Once a category has been selected, a range of products will be displayed (shown as either a list view or grid view, sorted alphabetically or by price), with brand and specials filters available.
Customers can click on a product’s image for further details, selecting a product by clicking the “add to trolley” button and choosing the number required. New World additionally provides for customers to create shopping lists, providing the capability to save up to 10 lists.
Other lists provided include a My Favourites list (containing products for which the customer has clicked the heart icon next to the product), a My Last Order list (containing products in the customer’s trolley when the last order was placed) and a My Past Purchases list (containing recent online purchases).
Orders can be checked via the Review Trolley screen prior to the checkout process, while registered users also have the option of changing their order once it has been submitted (with the amount of remaining time left to do so displayed via the website).
Customers can add notes related to any instructions regarding their order, and can also tick a box allowing for substitutions to be made for products.
At the Order Options page, customers can select how they would like to receive their order, via delivery or click & collect, with available timeslots listed, then selecting the payment type.