retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Terrific story in the Financial Times about how “the US online grocery business is in a revival that may finally see it emerge from the shadow of the spectacular bankruptcy of Webvan after its failed bid to launch a national home delivery service almost a decade ago.”

Giving the segment a jolt is Walmart, which is “testing a new ‘pay online and pick up today’ service at some stores that includes items such as shampoo and toothpaste. The model is expected to provide the basis for an eventual move by Walmart into a full range of grocery and food products. Walmart declined to give details of the scope of the tests, or a potential launch date for the same-day, pick-up service.”

FT also notes that the decision by Publix to get back into the online grocery business - it tried and failed in 2003 - also is an indication that online grocery shopping is becoming an increasingly important segment. (Full disclosure: This time around, Publix is working with MyWebGrocer, which provides e-commerce systems and services, on its offering ... and MyWebGrocer is a longtime MNB sponsor.)
KC's View:
The story notes that “online sales of groceries account for less than 2 per cent of total grocery sales in the US, compared with almost 4 per cent in the UK.” But the feeling seems to be - and I’m hearing this from a lot of people - that the market is primed for some fast increases in this share of market...mostly because with every passing day, the consumers coming into the marketplace are increasingly comfortable with and interested in buying food online. After all, that’s how they buy everything else.