- Fast-growing Sprouts Farmers Markets is launching an online ordering program to help consumers plan and shop for the holiday season. Online ordering for pickup and delivery of complete holiday meals and catering trays, as well as recipe inspiration, will start Nov. 7.
- Positioning itself as a one-stop shop for the holidays, Sprouts will be selling floral packages, gifts, gingerbread houses and cookie decorating kits in-store in addition to new seasonal food items like Candy Cane and Cinnamon Eggnog Gelatos and Maple Brown Sugar Ham Glaze.
- Meanwhile, New Seasons Market has also launched a new online holiday meals tool, allowing shoppers to reserve turkey, sides and other options ahead of time and to plan recipes. The West Coast specialty grocer has also kicked off wine and beer delivery in Portland, Oregon through Instacart.
The calendar just turned to November and already shoppers are thinking about the holiday season. Retailers, on the other hand, have been planning for months, and they're increasingly looking to e-commerce as a way to not only fill holiday orders, but to acquire customers in the process.
By visiting Sprouts and New Seasons' unique holiday portals, customers can order main course meats, fully cooked meals with sides and catering trays that are customized to their holiday preferences. Sprouts’ mains menu features fresh organic and natural turkey, spiral sliced hams and USDA Choice rib roasts as well as complete prepared meals starting at $29.99 that feed six to eight people with a main course, seasonal side and dinner rolls. New Seasons offers a full turkey dinner for 8 to 10 people for $160.
More than just getting a jump start on holiday sales, these and other retailers want to build a relationship with shoppers by positioning themselves as a one-stop shop. By pushing consumers to their holiday portal, shoppers will be more likely to pick up décor and gifts along with their pumpkin pie and stuffing.
Other retailers have a similar philosophy around the holidays, focusing on improving the online experience. Walmart redesigned its website to make shopping and returns easier. Target took aim at Walmart and Amazon by offering free two-day shipping with no minimum purchase starting today through Dec. 22.
Competing grocers are also offering special deals and unique ordering features. Last year, e-commerce services Instacart and Shipt offered deals in partnership with CPG companies, while e-grocer Peapod offered $20 off any order $225 or larger. In partnership with Unata, the online service provider acquired by Instacart earlier this year, Lowes' Foods lowered the price of an online membership from $99 to $39.
Pumping up online holiday meal shopping is connected to two shopping trends: Across the retail industry, online sales are expected to increase this holiday season and online grocery shopping, specifically, is on the rise. According to eMarketer, online sales this holiday season are expected to jump 16.2%. Meanwhile, the Food Marketing Institute is predicting that within the next five years consumers could be spending $100 Billion dollars a year on online grocery.
Getting in front of current and future shoppers as the busiest shopping season of the year begins is a great way to build the brand’s visibility. And by making grocery shopping more convenient at a hectic time helps build brand loyalty and may entice customers to come back in January when they’re looking for healthy antidotes to their holiday indulgences.