- Ridley’s Family Markets has introduced an e-commerce platform that will serve customers in the five-state region where it operates, according to Progressive Grocer.
- The platform, offered in partnership with retail technology firm Digital Foodie, allows shoppers to order online or from a mobile device, and supports in-store pickup as well as home delivery.
- According to Ridley’s, the new ordering system helped them continue serving customers after a roof collapsed at their Weiser, ID store because of heavy snowfall.
Many of Ridley’s more than 30 stores appear in small towns scattered across the West — places like Gooding, ID (population 3,567) and Kemmerer, WY (population 2,700). Places where there aren’t many other grocery stores competing for consumer dollars.
In some areas, Ridley’s will surely be the only food retailer offering home delivery and pickup, giving it a clear regional advantage. So in that sense, Ridley’s move is more about expanding its reach to other communities than just the ones where it operates. It’s an interesting move, particularly in rural areas that often aren’t on the cutting edge of retail technology.
A few questions linger. What will the delivery radius be around each store? And how receptive are customers in these areas to online shopping? No doubt, many shoppers will see at-home delivery as a valuable service. But how far out of its way will Ridley’s go to serve them? And can it gain enough customers through the service to make it worth the extra expense?
In its press announcement, Ridley’s noted that the service allowed it to continue serving customers in Weiser, ID after the store’s roof collapsed due to snowfall. By mentioning this, the company seems to be intent on showing how e-commerce, rather than some newfangled technology, is an extension of the reliable service community grocers are known for.