retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Canadian Press reports that both Loblaw and Metro yesterday "tackled the rising popularity of e-commerce shopping on Wednesday during their quarterly conference calls as the companies delivered stronger overall profits and revenues.

"Pressure has been mounting for Canadian grocers to respond to evolving consumer habits that show more people are using their computers and smartphones to shop for lower prices and buy online."

According to the story, "Loblaw president Galen Weston said he sees a chance to expand its pickup service beyond grocery stores and into the Shoppers Drug Mart chain, which the company also owns ... But Weston isn't as confident that store-to-door delivery is the future of his business at this point."

Next, year, the story says, Metro "will begin testing its own e-commerce project that could include in-store pickup or delivery. So far, the company, whose banners include Metro and Food Basics, has declined to offer any details. In a call with analysts, Metro's chief executive Eric La Fleche was reluctant to proclaim online shopping as the next step in how consumers buy their food."
KC's View:
The folks at Loblaws and Metro know their markets and customers better than I do, but there seems to be a bit of hesitancy in their positioning that I find to be a little worrying.

E-grocery is never going to replace the bricks-and-mortar store, but I think the only way to find out how big it can get is to embrace the simple fact that consumer behavior has changed in dramatic and fundamental ways.

One of my favorite proverbs is, "He who hesitates is lost." I think that may apply here.