Choose The Best eCommerce Grocery Technology Partner

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Priya A. Shah, GrocerKey Content Writer

Behind every successful digital grocery business, there’s a great technology partner that provides a best in class customer experience, robust management and picking applications, and strategic insight — leading to desired business outcomes.

What To Look For In Your Technology Partner

Given the complexity involved in running in an eCommerce grocery business, it’s important for grocery retailers to consider technology partners who have hands-on operational experience. Technology providers that have built their solution from the inside out (rather than the outside in) are better positioned to provide front and back-end solutions with greater breadth and depth.

High-quality technology partners will offer strategic value by helping a retailer build a sustainable business while coming up with a unique operating model to satisfy customer needs. When you look for a technology partner, look for a team who understands the eCommerce grocery industry inside and out. This is a highly complicated business that is very operational heavy and made better by technology, not the other way around. 

Here are 6 basic needs your technology partner should always include: 

  1. A mobile first approach: A mobile-optimized web interface and native mobile apps are critical as consumers are becoming more reliant on their mobile devices for their eCommerce grocery shopping needs.
  2. Site speed and ease of use: A fast eCommerce ordering experience (powered by a single page application) with an engaging and intuitive UI/UX is a must. 
  3. Access to core basket items: Make it easy for customers to build their shopping list ahead of time, locate sale items, and access their purchase history to build their online basket. 
  4. Relevant search: Give customers search options for their favorite items, an advanced filter based on dietary preferences, and meal ideas/recipes for basket building inspiration. 
  5. Process for dealing with inevitable out of stocks: There should always be a proactive/reactive approach for dealing with out of stocks. Customers should be able to select their preferred substitute for each item (which should be saved so the action only needs to be taken once) and the personal shopper assembling their order should be aware of the customers’ personal preferences and given recommendations for instances where the customer didn’t select a preferred substitute. 
  6. Easy payment: Make the process of online payment and the ability to modify orders easy.

Other Factors To Consider When Evaluating Technology Partners

Ideally, your technology partner should have a 360-degree view of your business. The ongoing goal is to build the product and service offer around your vision. Here are key qualities to consider as you search for the right technology partner for your business. 

Constantly Investing In Your Business 

If their primary focus is on investing in ways to grow their own business (event sponsorships, sales, marketing, and PR) that’s a major red flag. However, if they’re investing heavily in ways to grow your business (product, development, R&D, managed services, etc) you know you’ve found the ideal partner.

CPG Brand Monetization

The right technology partner will provide features, functions, and managed services to help you monetize your digital assets through CPG brand promotional content. This is one of the most overlooked profitability levers in eCommerce grocery.

Access To A Lab

It’s especially important that you invest in a technology partner who has access to a live learning lab where new ideas are tested and iterated upon. This includes pricing strategy, operational best practices, new product development, R&D, etc. 

Passion For The eCommerce Business

It sounds cliché but the best eCommerce businesses are passionate about their industries. Genuine interest in the digital grocery market means they’re in it for the long haul rather than simply trying to capitalize on a large market opportunity. Look for a partner who is not only passionate about the industry but also has a relentless desire to provide your customers with an extraordinary experience that meets or exceeds your current in-store experience. 

About GrocerKey 

GrocerKey transforms brick & mortar retailers into digital leaders by deploying robust eCommerce technology and mobile apps in addition to leveraging our decades of hands-on experience with strategy, management, and operations. 

The GrocerKey Difference 

  1. Online and in-store technology approach: GrocerKey provides digital solutions that meet shopper expectations and provide choice, whether they’re shopping in-store or online
  2. Decades of operational experience: GrocerKey’s CEO, Jeremy Neren, ran an on-demand grocery delivery service profitably for a decade before he founded GrocerKey and has partnered with several other eCommerce grocery veterans to provide value-added expertise to each retail client. 
  3. Hands-on approach: We are always engaged throughout the process to help guide retailers as they transform into digital leaders.
  4. Passionate about eCommerce grocery: We’re in the eCommerce grocery space because we’re genuinely passionate about it. We love working with retailers to deliver omnichannel experiences that include a highly differentiated profitable eCommerce business. 

It’s time to start 2019 strong with the right technology partner. Based on your eCommerce business goals for the new year, narrow down your search, and set up an introduction call with your potential partners. Chat with a few service providers to get a feel for what they’re like before making a commitment. The process may feel overwhelming at first but as long as your technology partner understands your business and speaks your language, the investment will be worth it! 

Have you gone through the process of picking technology partners? Tell us about your experience in the comments section! 

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