Online grocer

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Online grocer refers to a grocery store that allows private individuals and businesses to purchase groceries and grocery products online.[1][2] There is usually a delivery charge for this service. Online grocery delivery services are available throughout Europe, Asia and North America, mostly in urban centres. The online ordering is done through E-commerce websites or mobile apps. According to a report from Food Marketing Institute and Nielsen American consumers are expected to spend up to $100 billion on online grocery items by 2025 [3].

Distribution types[edit]

Online grocer is a variation of E-commerce which is based on a brick-and-mortar supermarket, warehouse, or a distribution center.

In-store pickup[edit]

In-store order pickup fridges at a Save-On-Foods store in British Columbia, Canada.

The basic method of online grocery ordering involves customers placing orders online and picking up their ready orders in the store on their way home. In-store pickup is typically offered for same-day shopping as it does not require a shipping or delivery. It usually has the lower service fee. This option is popular in rural areas. It is also useful for customers living outside of the store's local delivery area.

Local delivery[edit]

Most local online grocers have their own drivers and are able to deliver goods faster than the first method. The most common type of personal delivery involves storing grocery inventory in a warehouse to deliver to customers once orders are placed. Another type of personal delivery which is less common is based on just-in-time business in which there is no warehouse or inventory. In this type of delivery, customers place orders for next-day delivery. The online grocer shops for the groceries on the morning of the delivery day.

Some grocery fulfilment centres are set up as dark stores.

Upcoming delivery modes include drone delivery and robots. For instance, in Fall 2016 Washingthon D.C. approved a trial run of rolling delivery drones produced by Starship Technologies. The earthbound robots are similar to wheeled coolers and carry around 40 pounds of groceries [4].


This method involves shipping groceries using courier services. If the order contains cold or frozen items, the grocer will use the method of "Flash freezing" the goods and pack them into special shipping containers. These online grocers usually offer a large or national delivery area.


The online grocer technology platform could be developed in-house and managed by the supermarket internal team. Alternatively, a third party's platform could be re-used and customized to reflect the company brand and provide unique features. In some cases, all management and support tasks are being outsourced to the platform provider.

See also[edit]


  1. ^, Peapod Brings Online Grocery Shopping Service to iPad, Pad Gadget, January 11, 2011, Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  2. ^, Online grocer heads towards profit Published: 01 February 2011 03:51 PM, Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  3. ^ Daniels, Jeff (2017-01-30). "A $100 billion opportunity: Online grocery sales set to surge, grabbing 20 percent of market by 2025". CNBC. Retrieved 2017-11-08. 
  4. ^ Etherington, Darrell. "Grocery deliveries via rolling drone will kick off in Washington, D.C. this fall". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-11-08.