retail news in context, analysis with attitude

H-E-B announced yesterday that it will now be selling some 50,000 products online and shipping them nationally.

According to the announcement, "Products include H-E-B's popular store brands like Central Market Organics and Cafe Ole Taste of Texas Coffees, as well as a large variety of national brands ... Popular Texas brands that are only available at H-E-B stores are now available to purchase and ship at HEB.com. The new "Totally Texas" page at HEB.com/texas includes products made in Texas or inspired by Texans like Whataburger Whatafries and Spicy Ketchup, Franklin Barbecue Sauce made in Austin, H-E-B chips, sodas, salsas and more."

The company said that "orders can be shipped throughout Texas, to 46 states within the continental U.S. and to military bases worldwide."

H-E-B adds that "shipping fees vary and average $5 to $10 per order. Some products require a minimum order quantity, but all products are priced at the same everyday low prices shoppers can find in-store ... Any product ordered online can be returned to any H-E-B store anywhere for an immediate full refund, or products can be sent back using free shipping."
KC's View:
H-E-B is one of those retailers uniquely positioned for an enterprise like this one ... it pretty much defines the state of Texas, and the offering will have a lot of appeal to Texans who find themselves living elsewhere but yearning for a taste of back-home.

But I also suspect that this reflects a greater hunger on H-E-B's part for a digital offering that will take it beyond the program it has been running with Instacart, and an understanding that it has to play in this arena to maintain the competitive advantages it has long enjoyed.