4 Best Practices For Local Grocery Delivery In 2023

March 17, 2023

As online shopping continues to grow in popularity, local grocery delivery is becoming an important part of many consumers' lives. From reducing time spent at the grocery store to making sure you get your hands on hard-to-find ingredients, a convenient and reliable local grocery delivery service can be a game-changer for busy households.

But not all local grocery delivery services are the same. The best ones focus on safety and convenience while offering competitive prices. With that in mind, here are the best practices your grocery e-commerce store should consider in order to capture more of the grocery market share.

Trends in local grocery deliveries for 2023

The grocery industry has changed in the past few years - and it's not just because of the pandemic. From new trends in online ordering to the emergence of grocery delivery services, local groceries have been shifting away from traditional shopping experiences to meet modern demands.

In 2023, these changes will continue as consumers demand more convenience and safety during shopping trips. Here's an overview of some of the top trends shaping the future of local groceries in 2023. This includes critical post-COVID shifts that have altered the landscape for grocers everywhere.

Online is still growing

The global market for online grocery delivery grew from $285.7 billion in 2021 to $354.28 in 2022, with the trend set to continue in 2023. Customers are becoming comfortable with ordering groceries online. So local grocers have to be ready to provide an easy and secure shopping experience for customers.

That means offering a well-designed website where users can search for items, add them to their cart, and check out quickly and securely. It also means keeping up with the latest trends in online ordering. For example, contactless payment and automated order confirmations are becoming more popular.

Brace for even higher customer expectations

As technology advances, customers' expectations for their grocery shopping experience also evolve. With apps like Instacart, shoppers are able to order groceries with a few taps of their phone. While delivery services like DoorDash offer even more convenience by bringing items right to the door.

Technology advancements have made it easier for customers to get what they need quickly and efficiently. This trend is rising as shoppers expect more from their local grocers - from competitive prices to faster delivery times. In short, local grocers should expect higher customer expectations in 2023.

Sustainable deliveries can give you an edge

Sustainable deliveries have become increasingly popular in recent years as shoppers look to reduce their carbon footprint while they shop. Local grocers can use this trend to stand out from other grocery delivery services. This may include offering eco-friendly packaging and utilizing electric vehicles for deliveries.

By utilizing sustainable delivery practices, local grocers can prove their commitment to environmental stewardship and give their customers the confidence that their purchases are not negatively impacting the planet - a major win in 2023.

4 grocery delivery best practices to implement now

Now that we've covered a few of the major trends in local groceries for 2023, it's time to look at some best practices that you should consider implementing as soon as possible. Here are a few tips that can help you provide an exceptional delivery experience for your customers:

1. Make customer experience your first priority

The key to success lies in ensuring that customer experience is their first priority. To do this, grocers should make a virtue of being local - by being accessible and responsive to their customers' needs. For example, grocers can offer customer support via phone, email, or chat to help customers make the most of their shopping experience.

Grocers will also want to make sure all information about delivery costs, estimated time of arrival (ETAs), time windows, and other relevant details are made available upfront. For example, automated text messages that specify when a delivery will be made, how it will be packaged, and how customers can track it can make the process much smoother for everyone involved, plus offer a competitive edge over other services.

Additionally, grocers should strive to offer multiple options for delivery, such as preferred days and time windows. These, along with options for in-store or curbside pickup, will allow customers to choose what works best for them — whether they care about convenience, cost savings, or both.

2. Optimize your technology

A woman’s finger hovers over the words “Confirm delivery” on a phone screen. The phone is on a kitchen countertop scattered with fruits and vegetables.
Look for technology that makes life easier for both you and your customers. | Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich

Optimizing omnichannel technology is one of the most critical grocery delivery best practices that local grocers should implement in 2023. To do this, grocers must first ensure their order management system is up-to-date and compatible with current customer demands. This means being able to accept online sales and payment through a variety of methods (credit card, PayPal, etc.) and having a secure checkout process from beginning to end.

Additionally, grocers should also focus on optimizing their delivery management system by utilizing real-time tracking for deliveries and efficient route optimization for drivers. For example, with Routific, grocers can use our texting and mobile apps technology to automate delivery planning and route management, allowing drivers to deliver more efficiently while also reducing the time customers wait for their orders.

3. Focus on freshness

Having fresh produce is essential for any grocery business that wants to improve its user experience. To do this, grocers should strive to maintain a cold chain from store to doorstep to ensure customers receive their items in perfect condition. This means investing in temperature-controlled packaging and delivery methods that utilize real-time tracking technology so that grocers can monitor the entire process from start to finish. This ensures that your perishable produce stays fresh, avoiding any spoilage happening to your grocery orders.

Additionally, grocery retailers must also prioritize speed and efficiency when it comes to delivery times. To achieve this goal, grocers should consider offering multiple delivery options (such as same-day delivery or next-day delivery) as well as providing customers with an estimated time of arrival (ETAs). By focusing on these two key areas - freshness and speed - local grocers can ensure they are staying ahead of the competition and providing their customers with an exceptional online grocery shopping experience.

4. Be the boss of your costs

Lastly, you'll want to stay on top of your operational costs and expenses when it comes to grocery delivery. To do this, grocers should focus on streamlining their supply chain processes and leveraging technology to reduce the costs associated with home delivery. For example, grocers can use delivery optimization software to automate route planning and management, saving time and increasing profitability while also ensuring orders are delivered quickly and efficiently.

Grocers can also consider partnering with a local delivery service that offers more cost-effective services and a better overall customer experience.

Learn from the best

If you want to learn to be competitive in the grocery delivery market, look at the experts. Major retailers like Amazon, Instacart, and Walmart can provide examples of best practices. Bigger chains compete on a larger scale, which smaller stores may not be able to compete with. However, there are still plenty of lessons smaller businesses can learn from them.

Data-Driven Decisions 

One of the key advantages that major grocers have over smaller local ones is their ability to use data to make informed decisions. That advantage is eroding, though — powerful delivery management software is now available to small and medium-sized businesses, too. They include access to data dashboards that can help you improve efficiency throughout your delivery and driver management processes.

Streamline Processes

To compete with larger grocery stores in 2023, it's important to make your operations as efficient as possible. Invest in technologies such as automated ordering systems, route optimization software and quick delivery methods. This will help orders be processed accurately and cost-effectively. It is also important to train staff on safety guidelines. For example, social distancing and contactless delivery keep customers safe and deliveries efficient.

Focus On Creating Loyal Customers

Finally, it's important to remember that customer loyalty is key to success in the grocery delivery market. The biggest advantage that local grocers have over larger retailers is their ability to provide personalized customer service experiences. This is something that no amount of technology can replicate. Excellent customer service is essential to delivering an exceptional experience to customers. This includes having friendly, knowledgeable staff and delivery drivers who are punctual. Larger retailers may not be able to guarantee this due to their size and scope of operations.

Wrapping It Up

In 2023 local grocers need to be prepared for the upcoming changes in the grocery delivery market. Local grocers can stay competitive in this rapidly growing market by focusing on freshness and speed of delivery, improving route and delivery efficiency, investing in technology, and providing excellent customer service experiences. With a focus on customer loyalty and the right strategies in place, local grocers can continue to offer a unique, personalized service that customers will value and appreciate.

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Amber Young
Amber Young is a freelance writer based in Vancouver. She's a transport and logistics nerd who loves working in the B2B tech space.

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