Concierge Food Retailing; A Win for Supermarket Delivery

The Lempert Report
September 28, 2015

Supermarkets need to stand out when it comes to online ordering and delivery, is concierge food retailing the answer?

Consumers love convenience, and as Amazon, Instacart and other food deliverers continue to attract attention from shoppers and retailers, we continue to see online ordering increase in popularity.  

While we too see supermarkets increase their own versions of online ordering and delivery or pickup, they often seem either largely dispassionate and functionary, or priced too low to sustain, especially if they aren't doing enough to push bigger baskets.

Our solution?! Concierge food retailing!  Supermarkets have a wide-open opportunity to differentiate with a more personalized service that cements relationships and loyalty, purchase regularity and larger transactions because the mix would include favorite items of specific shoppers.  Rather than chase existing leaders in the ordering/delivery/pickup sector, supermarkets could leapfrog them with a premium service for an annual subscription fee, much like Amazon Prime.  This concept won't fit every store, but some early examples could be Mariano’s, Eataly, Wegmans, Whole Foods Market and Publix – because stores like these have the “more” to inspire shoppers to pay for a closer relationship filled with perks.

Much like the personal shopper model in luxury department stores. Customers would get to know and trust their personal shopper, who’d give them an early heads up on special foods arriving, deals coming up on favorite brands, place special orders and be responsible for regularly assembling orders for pickup or delivery.  

These supermarket personal shoppers could also serve as the store’s liaisons between customers and registered dietitians, chefs, beauty advisors and pet care experts.  Their close relationship would encourage discussions with their customers about all things food and make the process fun and valuable – all the while creating a more loyal shopper, a more predictable sales model, higher market share, and yes, even a cash infusion from the yearly subscription fees.