- Regional retailer SpartanNash has partnered with digital solutions provider Unata to launch a click-and-collect program, according to a company release.
- SpartanNash launched its click-and-collect program, called Fast Lane, at a Family Fare Supermarket location in Grandville, Michigan in July. The company has since launched the service in 10 more locations and plans to expand to up to 50 stores by year’s end.
- "Our click-and-collect program takes our company's digital customer experience to a whole new level," EVP of merchandising and marketing Larry Pierce said. "The entire Fast Lane experience is tailored to fit the needs of our on-the-go store guests while providing quality products at an affordable price."
It’s expected that 20% of all grocery sales, representing around $100 billion, will come from online shoppers by 2025, according to data from the Food Marketing Institute and Nielsen. Unata’s 2017 Grocery eCommerce Forecast predicts that 31% of U.S. consumers are expected to order groceries online this year, a 19% increase from last year. The study also found that 80% of shoppers who purchased groceries online last year plan to do so again this year. However, 23% of consumers who ordered online last year said that their current grocer does not offer e-commerce services.
This explains why many grocers in recent months have scrambled to develop online grocery capabilities, both through home delivery and click and collect. And it's the reason some of the biggest retailers — Walmart and Kroger among them – are heavily investing to ramp up their own click-and-collect models. Walmart’s e-commerce sales grew 73% year-over-year in Q2 2017, with online grocery as the key driver. Amazon, meanwhile, has big plans to disrupt retail grocery now that it owns 460 Whole Foods locations to use as physical store pickup points.
Unata, which has mostly focused on behind-the-scenes infrastructure for the grocery industry, is unique among third-party e-commerce providers in offering a dedicated click-and-collect platform. As described on its website, Unata powers digital grocery experiences by offering a “white-label platform for large retail grocery chains that provides a complete and unified digital customer experience, interweaving e-commerce, e-circular, and digital loyalty.” Unata also counts regional operators Lowes Foods, Longo’s, Lunds & Byerly’s and Raley’s among its grocery partners.
Using a third-party provider like Unata to support its e-commerce rollout instead of investing in a grounds-up approach makes a lot of sense for a regional grocer like SpartanNash. It allows the retailer to focus on its core grocery business while outsourcing the more technical aspects to a digital solutions expert. While some may be a bit surprised that SpartanNash chose Unata’s platform over a more well-known third-party app like Instacart, going the click-and-collect path makes a lot of sense. Industry experts generally agree that click-and-collect (vs. home delivery) is the more economically sound online grocery format right now, particularly as companies work through the inefficiencies of last-mile delivery.