The Bay Area is also the site for Google’s online grocery pilot, Google Shopping Express, which offers same-day delivery for food and other products.
“We hope this will help users explore the benefits of a local, same-day delivery service, and help us kick the tires on the new service,” said the company during launch in late March.
Shoppers who participate in the pilot can shop from retailers such as Target, Walgreens, Staples, American Eagle, and Toys R Us/Babies R Us, as well as local Bay Area shops like San Francisco’s Blue Bottle Coffee, the Bay Area’s Palo Alto Toy & Sport, and Raley’s Nob Hill Foods.
Tom Fallows, a product management director at Google who is heading up Google Shopping Express, said the pilot will expand as “we work out the kinks.”
Online grocery is not only taking off in the U.S., there’s plenty of activity overseas as well. Just last month, the UK’s Tesco launched Tesco Lotus in Bangkok, Thailand. The new service offers over 20,000 grocery, fresh food and non-food products online for home delivery. The launch is part of Tesco’s strategy to be an “outstanding international retailer in-store and online.”
“Tesco Lotus is committed to innovation to meet the changing needs and lifestyles of today’s consumers. We will combine online technology with our retail expertise to provide a great online shopping experience for customers. With our solid infrastructure, our true understanding of customer needs for great service and good product quality, and our professionally trained staff, we are confident that we’re offering Thailand’s best-in-class online grocery shopping service,” remarked Tesco Lotus CEO John Christie.
He added that, “In today’s hectic world our customers need more help to make their lives easier—an ‘extra pair of hands’ to do the shopping for them. Tesco Lotus is ready to do just that—have specially trained personal shoppers to pick the best products and deliver them to customers at the time customers choose. Product quality is also on the top of customers’ minds. So, we have invested in specially designed delivery vans that can keep fresh, chilled and frozen products in good condition from stores to customers’ door steps.”
Tesco started its online presence in the UK in 2000, growing to one of the country’s busiest retail Web sites. In addition to Bangkok’s Tesco Lotus, the company offers online grocery shopping in a number of other Asian countries as well as emerging markets in Eastern Europe and Africa.
India’s 120 million Internet users are also looking to buy food and groceries online. The country is a hotspot for online growth, racking up 25 percent growth in e-tailing in 2012, according to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMI).
In its GAIN Report from March 25, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) states there are currently 14 online food retailers in India.
“Most carry at least some imported food products and one sells imported food products exclusively. Whether retailers will be able to compete with the traditional neighborhood grocer remains to be seen, but the greater selection online retailing provides could prove attractive for some consumers,” noted the FAS.
Two of the major players in India are Mumbai’s Eemli.com, which offers both domestic and imported fruits and vegetables, while Nature’s Basket has physical stores in several Indian cities, in addition to its online site.
Where e-com is heading
While e-commerce continues to grow at a blistering rate, logistics providers and others are scrambling to adapt.
In a recent blog, Steve Schwegman, senior vice president with real estate services provider Jones Lang LaSalle, discussed just how big the impact of e-commerce is on supply chains.
“According to the Retail Industry Leaders Association, nine out of 10 retailers still haven’t settled on their e-commerce fulfillment strategy,” he stated, opening up “plenty of opportunity for leaders within the industry (including consultants, third-party providers, MHE and systems integrators, etc.) to create innovative solutions and value for their clients and customers.”