Meijer’s Online Grocery Knows No Borders

Discussion
Feb 01, 2011
George Anderson

Maybe there is something to online grocery after all. While
it seems as though no conversation about online grocery can take place without
raising the specter of Webvan, Streamline and others that have departed, more
and more retailers are taking a stab at it, the most recent being Meijer.

The retailer announced the launch of MeijerDoorstepGrocer.com, which
features roughly 5,000 name brand and private label items in multi-pack and
bulk sizes. The service, with shipping charges starting at $7.95, is available
to consumers in all 50 states as well as international destinations.

“To our millions of loyal customers over the years, Meijer has long been
associated with higher standards and lower prices,” said Rick Keyes, executive
vice president of supply chain operations and e-commerce for Meijer, in a statement. “We’re
confident that new Meijer shoppers from well beyond our Midwest region, as
well as Meijer fans who live outside our footprint, will enjoy Meijer’s offerings
once they experience MeijerDoorstepGrocer.com.”

Meijer, which launched
Meijer.com in 2007, told The Grand Rapids Press that
50 percent of its current orders come from outside the company’s Midwest base.
The company began selling non-perishable grocery items in bulk sizes on the
site in 2008.

“We’ve seen a lot of interest on e-commerce from California, Florida
and states you wouldn’t think of,” Frank Guglielmi, a spokesperson
for Meijer, told the paper. “We think there is real opportunity with
the fans of Meijer who live in other parts of the country to be able to shop
for Meijer products.”

Meijer said it expected to offer some of the sales prices
on items in its stores through its online grocery service, as well. The company
is currently offering a 10 percent discount on orders exceeding $100 through
the site.

Discussion Questions: Do announcements that retailers, including Amazon, Alice.com, FreshDirect, Publix and Meijer, are expanding their online grocery products businesses make you more optimistic about the viability of such services? Is there a model currently being used that you think is the best of the bunch?

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7 Comments on "Meijer’s Online Grocery Knows No Borders"


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Bill Emerson
Guest
Bill Emerson
10 years 3 months ago

You’ve got to give the grocers credit for continuing to figure out how to develop an effective e-commerce operating model. Is Meijer the one to finally do it? Beats me.

The one thing that does seem to be missing from this conversation is the demographic curve. Boomers are reaching 65 at the rate of 10,000/day. They are also a lot more technologically savvy than the prior generation and more comfortable with e-commerce. Perhaps, as this market of 75+ million ages and drives less, they will provide market mass sufficient to finally get this obvious market opportunity off the ground. Personally, I’d keep my eye on Amazon.

Anne Bieler
Guest
Anne Bieler
10 years 3 months ago

There is a good opportunity here for the right working model. Spending time in the aisles to make the same weekly purchases–not a great way to spend busy days. Execution has been very mixed for many retailers here–from out-of-stocks, to delivery times, to cost–it is a new value equation. Knowing target shoppers and meeting their expectations; Meijer could have success here if they execute well.

Gene Detroyer
Guest
10 years 3 months ago

Why is there such an issue with this? And why do we keep talking about Webvan? Webvan had the right idea, they were just ahead of their time. The difference between today and Webvan’s days is as different as today and the pre-internet days.

As I just wrote in Bob Phibbs blog, any retail CEO that is not aggressively pursuing online retailing should be fired.

Brick and mortar retail has no sustainable competitive advantage against on-line retail. On-line retail will only get better and more efficient and brick and mortar has no where to go. The ultimate online retail business model beats the brick and mortar business model on almost every line of the P&L and Balance Sheet.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
10 years 3 months ago

We are watching a process in action as grocers work through the online ordering & delivery systems. Sure, many have tried and many failed. But that is not a reason to give up on it. What is needed is a full commitment to the program. Not just “OK, we have it and you can place your orders.” That is where so many have failed. Maybe Meijer has the right formula. We will know soon, won’t we? It is a program that will eventually be successful and available to many.

The article said they are receiving orders from as far away as Florida. I wonder how many Florida orders they will receive after the winter snows have gone and the snowbirds have returned home?

Herb Sorensen
Guest
10 years 3 months ago

When I refer to “the Amazonification of Walmart,” I’m not thing specifically either of Amazon or Walmart. Instead I’m talking about the preeminent selling organization in the world (Amazon) and the preeminent logistical organization in the world (Walmart). Until the logistics retailers (bricks and mortar) begin to address the online market like Amazon does, they will continue to be weak players online.

Question: how come Amazon can efficiently sell 50+ million items but bricks and mortar stores think their own “treasure hunt” approach to 40,000 is written in stone? Hard work and intelligence are no substitute for the creativity of a paradigm shift.

Mark Burr
Guest
10 years 3 months ago

Grocery and non-food success are two completely different animals. Retailers like Meijer will need a two track approach. One is far easier than the other. The problem is that retailers like Amazon have done that one so well that, unless there is a huge differentiation, Meijer will likely be always looking into Amazon’s tail lights.

The grocery landscape is littered with those that have failed. Nevertheless, I agree that those not pursuing it in even a small way are also going to be left looking at the tail lights. Methods and processes for doing so effectively are going to be found. If you’re in that business and not seeking to be the one that finds it….

Justin Time
Guest
10 years 3 months ago

meijer.com has been a lifesaver for my elderly Mom. This unique service delivers an in-depth variety of staples nationwide. I can purchase healthy foods and not have to purchase large quantities by the case like I used to do, from Amazon.com.

The savings can be substantial over conventional online suppliers. My Mom lives in an area where supermarkets don’t and won’t offer delivery options. So Meijer is the best alternative. Sure beats a $64 delivery charge offered by mygofer.com for a similar delivery from a local Kmart supercenter.

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