The q-commerce landscape is at a pivotal point, with room to grow."

As consumers adopt lasting omnichannel buying behaviors, grocery brands and retailers are embracing — and investing in — new ways to reach, engage and convert in an increasingly unified digital/physical retail landscape.

Although e-commerce grocery sales have grown at a slower pace in 2021 compared to the lockdown-fueled growth of 2020, digital grocery sales are expected to nearly double from $122.4 billion in 2021 to $243.7 billion in 2025. As they plan their strategies to grow their share of the growing pie, here are four emerging e-commerce trends manufacturers and retailers should consider:

1. Unified commerce marketing that encompasses all sales channels has become a necessity.

Omnichannel shoppers spend up to 20% more than in-store-only shoppers, according to a study by Symphony RetailAI, reason enough for brands and retailers to strategically invest in the online and offline channels. The most successful brands will unify and leverage always-on promotional and trade marketing activity.

2. Last-mile delivery providers are racing to deliver groceries to consumers’ homes in less than 30 minutes.

Quick commerce (q-commerce) is on the rise, with providers like Gopuff and JOKR entering the space with micro-fulfillment centers placed almost exclusively in densely populated areas. Each have aggressive expansion plans for 2022.

The second half of 2021 has been marked by strategic partnerships between retailers and last-mile delivery players. Most recently, Instacart partnered with Kroger to launch Kroger Delivery Now, with Giant to create Giant Instant Delivery and with Publix to build out its Publix Quick Picks. Albertsons has partnered with DoorDash and Uber to expand its delivery offering.

The q-commerce landscape is at a pivotal point, with room to grow. Now’s the time to begin securing partnerships with q-commerce platforms and engage in test-and-learns to inform future strategies.

3. Social commerce is a fast-growing channel expected to generate $36 billion this year.

Grocery retailers are quickly finding creative ways to use social media to convert shoppers online. One example: Walmart’s partnership with Meredith Group creating shopping Allrecipes videos ads on TikTok. With one tap of the “Shop now” button, each recipe’s ingredients are automatically loaded to the digital shopping cart on Walmart.com.

On another front, earlier this year Facebook introduced Live Shopping Fridays in partnership with beauty and apparel brands. These live shopping events offered a convenient channel for consumers to discover new products and provided brands with valuable consumer data — one more example of a development in social commerce that influences the way shoppers discover and buy products and has implications for brands in other categories.

It’s imperative brands carve out a space in the social commerce marketplace with a strategy tailored to their target shopper’s profile and preferred platforms. Each social media site or app has its own strengths and capabilities that can lead to creative activations through partnerships, retailer support, user-generated content and relevant influencers.

4. Retailers are developing alternate revenue streams and driving shopper loyalty through free delivery subscription services.

Along with free grocery delivery for online orders, Walmart offers its W+ members perks such as early access to Black Friday deals. Albertsons relaunched its own grocery delivery subscription service as FreshPass this summer and Kroger introduced its Boost by Kroger Plus service as part of its loyalty program last month. These new services offer brands new opportunities to get their products into shoppers’ digital carts.

Capitalizing on these four trends will enable brands and retailers to reach today’s consumers in their desired channels, at their desired speeds. Brands will win if they create a diverse, but unified, marketing strategy that allows them to reach consumers wherever and whenever their desire to shop strikes. Connecting with shoppers in new ways during these micro shopping moments will lead to greater loyalty and stickiness in today’s ever-competitive landscape.


Advantage Solutions

Katie Giuditta
Senior Director, Strategic Planning, Digital Grocery
Advantage Solutions

Katie Giuditta has more than 15 years of marketing experience in consumer goods and retail, including the development of Advantage's digital retail strategy practice.

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