Who hasn’t been caught in the epic battle of the self in which we have to decide whether to return to a cramped grocery store with mobs of starved customers pouncing on the last package of Oreo cookies or staying home and missing a daily essential until the next time we return to that gaping hole of hungry and almost desperate strangers that is the neighborhood grocery store?
While I may be exaggerating (although, if you’re as socially awkward as I am, you may understand my dilemma a bit more), it can be a chore for some to perform their regular grocery shopping. Shopping doesn’t only take effort for those with social anxiety, but also for those without transportation and for those with disabilities which limit their movement. Some may not agree that grocery shopping itself is a burden, but to those of us with social anxiety or some other legitimate explanation for not being able to do our own grocery shopping, it is. But, a new solution has emerged: Online grocery shopping and home delivery.
Keeping Up With the Competition
Retailers like Target (NYSE:TGT) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) have started delivering groceries directly to homes. Customers can shop for their perishables, produce, and other necessities online and have them shipped to their residence. Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is even going to test its own grocery delivery service in San Francisco and one other city later this year. Target has just started its fresh-food and household item shipping service in its hometown of Minneapolis. All three companies are restricted to metropolitan areas for now and have not announced plans for expansion into other areas yet.
Amazon was the first to begin this food-delivery trend in 2007 in the Seattle area. Slowly, Amazon Fresh has started to expand into other areas, mostly on the West Coast.
Amazon Fresh shoppers may even be surprised that the online store not only delivers the expected non-perishables, but even favorites like Oreos, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream pints, and even tailgating essentials like hot dogs and hamburger meat! The West Coast mogul is even trying to appeal to people who are concerned about buying local and organic by teaming with local Farmer’s Markets and distributing regional produce.
Target, on the other hand, is partnering with Instacart to ship its fresh products. Instacart teams with local grocery stores and retailers to provide regional products to its consumers and has locations in Miami, Seattle, and New York. Target and Instacart make their shipments by contracting drivers with their own vehicles to deliver shipments. This could help Target compete with Amazon Fresh’s prices by skipping over the cost of Target-owned trucks. While Target has only started in Minneapolis, it could potentially expand to other areas that its partner, Instacart, is located.
Google, Target, and Amazon Fresh are all competing to provide the best fresh grocery delivery and will likely continue to do so when (and if) online grocery shopping becomes a normal part of our everyday lives. For now, though, grocery stores are still the norm, with many preferring their neighborhood grocery store to online grocery shopping and it looks as though the socially awkward will have to continue to wait to completely extract themselves from society.