E-fresh is a fast growing online retailer doubling growth every year. It is known for utilizing technological innovations such as artificial intelligence and warehouse automation to offer a comprehensive service to the Greek consumer. Since its launch in 2016, it has successfully delivered more than 230,000 online grocery orders to thousands of Greek households. According to Zina Mavroeidi, the CEO behind one of Europe’s fastest growing, AI-powered digital grocers — e-Fresh, these are the three trends that we should expect to see in the industry by 2020:
Machine Learning Ordering: As pressure from new market entrants and e-commerce technology collide, grocery professionals must create a seamless online shopping experience for customers. Whether that’s through utilizing voice control or better utilised historic data and AI technology at the online checkout system, grocers will continue to invest in technology that makes the digital checkout process as easy as possible for consumers.
David vs. Goliath: Amazon acquiring Whole Foods last year highlights the preference shift of the West toward digital grocers. However, western tech giants will need to adjust their aggressive strategies if they want to broach long-term success in European markets - which, so far, has been relatively bumpy.
In the next few years, we’ll begin to see new, hyper-local players emerge in the digital grocer space to improve the online experience and build consumer trust. They will invest in new technologies such as robotics and AI to create smarter, profitable e-commerce operations. To truly support local growth, established European retailers are likely to contract out their logistics operations, and utilize the expertise of specialised companies in the digital grocery field following the Ocado - Kroger partnership in the US As a result, the digital grocer market, which is currently less than 1% of the overall retail business, will reach 1-5% globally by 2020.
Automated Supply Chain: Additionally, more grocers are expected to invest in automated fulfilment centres to make their delivery service cheaper and faster. At the moment, many online ordering platforms still require someone to physically select items for online shoppers. However, automation will make for more profitable e-commerce business models compared to previous solutions that relied on a very expensive cost to serve model.
Grocers that invest in developing their own automated supply chain will surpass competitors. With quicker access to items, orders being expedited in high-tech fulfilment centres, along with the limited labour required for loading and processing purchases - alternative platforms and brick and mortar locations will eventually phase out.