Grocers Expand Their eCommerce Audiences With New Digital Initiatives


One of the greatest challenges facing grocers looking to build out their digital followings is adoption. Online grocery is expected to continue to grow in years to come, and brands that cannot hack it in the space risk falling behind. Consequently, grocers are tapping a range of different strategies including leveraging third-party marketplaces to expand their value prop, releasing shoppable content to engage entertainment-seeking consumers, and even partnering with nonprofit organizations to make their offerings available to consumers who otherwise may not have been able to afford them.

On Tuesday (Dec. 7), Ahold Delhaize subsidiary Giant Food, which operates 164 supermarkets in the DMV area, announced the launch of its Ship2Me endless aisle marketplace, making a far wider range of items available from other sellers through the grocer’s digital platforms.

In a statement, Ira Kress, President of Giant Food, indicated that additional Ahold Delhaize USA brands will be integrating these marketplace features in the near future.

“Online grocery demand continues to grow, and we are constantly working to increase our capabilities and offerings to best serve the communities we operate in,” he said. “We are thrilled to be the first brand under the Ahold Delhaize USA family to be launching Ship2Me and bringing this innovative and expansive marketplace to our customers.”

Meanwhile, San Antonio, Texas-based grocery chain H-E-B, which has over 340 stores in Texas and Mexico, has been leveraging contextual commerce to drive digital sales, using videos and livestreams to draw consumers to its ecommerce offerings. Most recently, on Thursday (Dec. 2), the grocer released a holiday special hosted by James Van Der Beek, which included cooking tutorials and brand storytelling — apparently a new tradition for the grocer, which did the same in 2020.

“Recipe content has always been incredibly shoppable,” Jason Young, president of digital shopper marketing platform Chicory, told PYMNTS in an interview earlier. “What’s happening is, we now have the pipes all connected so that you can go very directly from content like recipes into transactional moments. But if you look at recipes historically, they’ve always been a point of inspiration, a point of kicking off the food shopping process.”

Read more: Soon All Content Will Be Shoppable, Says Contextual Commerce Platform Chicory

At the same time, grocers Walmart and Hy-Vee are expanding their digital audiences by expanding access. On Friday (Dec. 3), nonprofit organization the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition, announced that it was partnering with several grocery brands to bring online shopping capabilities to three Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) sub-grantees.

In Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska, the organization is working with Midwestern supermarket chain Hy-Vee; in Washington State and Massachusetts it is partnering with Walmart; and for the South Dakota and Rosebud Sioux Tribe WIC Programs, the organization is partnering with area chain Buche Foods.

“Walmart has always believed that access to convenience and to fresh, quality groceries should be available to everyone, regardless of payment method,” Walmart said in a news release Friday. “We look forward to collaborating with the Washington WIC and Massachusetts WIC agencies when the pilot goes live next year and are eager to expand this offering to even more states in the future.”