The Food Institute reports on how one of the nation’s most successful retailer-owned cooperatives is keeping ahead of the e-commerce curve.This week, The Food Institute reports on how one of the nation’s most successful retailer-owned cooperatives is keeping ahead of the e-commerce curve. Wakefern is a food distribution and retail cooperative of 47 businesses that produces $13.6 billion in sales each year. The average SHOPRITE store, the retail side of Wakefern, does $1 million in a week. In the battle of e-commerce versus brick-and-mortar retail, ShopRite is taking a hybrid approach. Food and beverage sales account for less than 1.5% of all e-commerce/mail order sales and totaled only about $5.1 billion for 2012, according to a FOOD INSTITUTE report based on COMMERCE DEPARTMENT data. But internet and mobile technology are still important to retailers. What items get bought on a digital device is an ever-expanding list. Mobile purchases started with diapers and bulk paper products then moved to include non-food items such as books and DVDs, also sold by the grocer. This led to customers purchasing high-end coffee and fair trade items from ShopRite’s digital store. For ShopRite, the demographic breakdown of in-store shoppers and digital customers splits at age 45. About two-thirds of the customers who shop in the physical store are 45 years old or older. One third of those customers do 80% of the sales there. For the digital customer, most are ages 25 to 44, but this is key. Among this crowd is ShopRite’s “ultimate demographic,” which this retail co-operative pegs as the new parent. But here’s where ShopRite’s digital commerce hits the bottom line, the average in-store customer’s total purchase is $40. For a digital shopper the average basket size $170.28. For a copy of the entire Food Institute Report this week, just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.