Digital transformation

Catherine Douglas Moran/Grocery Dive

Note from the editor

Online grocery demand reached heights in 2020 that many in the industry didn’t anticipate for years down the road. That’s pushing retailers to quickly improve the economics of e-commerce and also offer a more compelling experience for shoppers.

Kroger exemplifies the multi-front battle that companies are now waging. The nation’s largest grocer is pushing personalized shopping and a digital advertising business, partnering with Google on pickup and rolling out new delivery services. Like a growing number of companies, it now refers frequently to its digital “ecosystem” of interlocking services and operations.

Digital is also increasingly moving into stores, as Hy-Vee’s newest location in Des Moines, Iowa, shows. There, shoppers can scan QR codes to access the company's digital circular, order food from a kiosk and watch promotional videos in aisles.

In this trendline, we take a closer look at how Hy-Vee and Kroger are developing their digital business. We examine emerging services like ultrafast delivery, which is poised to expand across U.S. cities but carries serious questions about its business model. We also spotlight how retailers are making digital accessible for more consumers, including seniors and those with disabilities.

The shift to digital is a difficult one for many grocers, but it also carries exciting new possibilities for them to interact with consumers and differentiate their businesses.

Jeff Wells Lead Editor

Pardon the Disruption: E-grocery and the evolving need for speed

Kroger's Ocado sheds and ultra-fast delivery firms bookend a growing debate over how fast shoppers want their orders delivered.

• Published April 20, 2021

Grocers grapple with digital accessibility as e-commerce grows

The online shopping boom has brought more attention to how accessible websites and apps are to people with disabilities, but a lack of federal regulations and oversight poses challenges.

• Published Aug. 30, 2021 • Updated Sept. 1, 2021

Inside Hy-Vee's 'reimagined' physical-meets-digital store

Located in an up-and-coming northwest suburb of Des Moines, Iowa, the festive prototype features a lineup of new departments and partnerships, with digital touchpoints woven throughout.

• Published Sept. 15, 2021

Kroger maps its new digital 'ecosystem'

Offering a first look at its Ocado strategy, the grocer outlined plans to double online sales within three years and also improve margins.

• Published April 1, 2021

Grocers look to help seniors bridge the digital shopping divide

The pandemic brought more seniors online. Now grocers are figuring out how to retain their digital spending.

• Published April 21, 2021

Aisles Abroad: Inside Alibaba's digital-first club store

Store X is the online retailer's answer to Costco in a format that has caught fire in China as incomes rise and consumers look for new store experiences.

• Published Aug. 3, 2021

Grocers need answers for investors as pandemic jolt fades, analysts say

After a year of outsized sales and profits, food retailers are suggesting that comparisons with 2020 don't paint an accurate picture about their future potential. Will Wall Street buy their story?

• Published March 17, 2021

Digital transformation in the era of e-commerce

Online grocery demand has reached heights in 2020 that many didn't anticipate for years down the road. At the same time, evolving consumer demands and app technology are pushing grocers to rethink in-store merchandising to provide a more personalized experience for shoppers in a cost-efficient manner.

included in this trendline
  • Aisles Abroad: Inside Alibaba's digital-first club store
  • Inside Hy-Vee's 'reimagined' physical-meets-digital store
  • Kroger maps its new digital 'ecosystem'