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The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that in that Virginia city, where competition is getting tougher with the moves into the market by Wegmans and Publix, Kroger and Walmart are both using e-commerce as one of the ways to differentiate themselves.

According to the story, "Kroger locally started offering its ClickList service on a limited basis in March, and the service is now available at seven of the 18 area Kroger stores. Plans are to expand to four more stores by the end of the year. Plans also call to add the service at selected Kroger stores in the Charlottesville, Roanoke and Hampton Roads markets."

And, "Walmart’s online ordering service, called Walmart Grocery, rolled out locally in April and is available at four of the chain’s 20 Walmart Supercenter or Walmart Neighborhood Market locations in the area. Walmart Grocery pickup also is offered at 10 stores in Hampton Roads."

The story goes on to say that "online grocery ordering currently accounts for a fraction — estimated to be 3 to 6 percent — of the estimated $675 billion U.S. grocery sales market.
But the trend is up, driven in part by tech-savvy millennials who are accustomed to using technology to simplify everything from finding a date for Saturday night to looking for a job to arranging a ride to the airport.

"A January report from Morgan Stanley Research, which looked at the global reach of online grocery shopping, estimated the percentage of online shoppers buying groceries to go from 21 percent in 2015 to 34 percent in 2016."
KC's View:
To me, one of the things that is changing about the e-grocery environment is that it no longer can just be a defensive play by retailers not really committed to it, but fearful that not making at least a minimal investment in it will leave them vulnerable to e-competition.

I think retailers need to not just make a real commitment to the technology, but also view it in a progressive and aggressive way. It is about opportunity, not defense. It is about creating a robust and nuanced customer experience that is linked seamlessly to the bricks-and-mortar store.

And I think companies that don't see it in this way are making a potentially enormous mistake.