Online Grocery Platform: 5 E-Commerce Solutions for Grocery Stores

Calling all grocery store owners! Are you ready to take your business to the next level and tap into the booming world of online shopping?

Imagine a world where your grocery store is open 24/7, reaching customers beyond your physical location. Online grocery platforms allow you to expand your business, attract a wider customer base, and provide convenience like never before.

In today's competitive market, adapting to changing customer preferences is key. Shoppers seek the ease of ordering groceries from the comfort of their homes. As a grocery store owner, this presents a golden opportunity to stay relevant, increase revenue, and connect with tech-savvy customers.

This post will walk you through five top options for e-commerce solutions you can partner with to offer online grocery shopping for your store! 

Benefits of an Online Grocery Platform 

Let’s zoom out a bit and talk about what an online grocery platform is all about. These platforms are web-based or mobile applications that allow customers to browse, select, and purchase groceries from the comfort of their homes. 

In recent years, millions of customers have turned to online grocery platforms to get their weekly groceries; this surge in popularity can largely be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent shutdowns. As people were forced to adapt to social distancing measures and lockdowns, the demand for online grocery shopping and online ordering systems skyrocketed.

Integration with an online grocery platform can benefit your store in multiple ways:

  • Expanded Customer Reach: One of the primary advantages of embracing an online grocery platform is the ability for traditional grocery stores to extend their reach beyond their physical locations. This broader customer base translates into increased sales and heightened brand exposure.
  • Enhanced Inventory Management: Online grocery platforms leverage advanced data analytics. Tracking customer preferences and purchasing trends, these platforms help reduce wastage, optimize stock levels, and ensure popular products are consistently available. This data-driven approach saves money and ensures a seamless shopping experience.

Related Read: 4 Ways Grocery Data Analytics Help Drive Revenue

  • Improved Customer Insights: Online grocery platforms provide invaluable insights into customer behavior, preferences, and purchasing patterns. With this data, you can tailor marketing strategies to target specific customer segments, personalize promotions, and ultimately enhance the shopping experience. 
  • Cost-Effective Operations: Reduced in-store foot traffic allows grocery stores to manage staffing levels more efficiently, optimize store layouts, and potentially cut down on operating expenses. Over time, this translates into cost savings and improved profitability, making the transition to online platforms a smart business move for many grocery stores.

With these benefits in mind, let’s dive into our list of the top online grocery platforms you may choose to partner with for your grocery store’s e-commerce solution.

1. Local Express 

Local Express equips grocery stores with the online shopping tools needed to compete effectively against larger players in the e-commerce sector. Their platform supports various shopping options such as buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS), delivery, and shipping, catering to changing customer preferences. 

Local Express also integrates with existing systems, making the transition to an online presence smoother.

You can use this solution to craft a custom-branded online store that matches your brick-and-mortar identity, ensuring a personalized and familiar experience for your loyal customers, while helping you reach new ones. 

Whether it's the front end design, back end management, delivery ecosystem, marketing tools, or integrations, Local Express provides the necessary resources to stay competitive in the digital marketplace.

Average Onboarding Time: 24 hours (Local Express also offers ongoing partner support!)

Pricing: Flexible pricing packages available for stores of various sizes and needs

Customer Example: SeaFood City

2. Mercato 

Mercato offers a comprehensive e-commerce solution tailored for independent grocery stores and regional chains. 

Their platform allows businesses to bring their in-store experience online, creating a user-friendly online store, while maintaining their brand's unique identity. It seamlessly integrates into existing websites and the Mercato marketplace, enabling businesses to showcase a wide range of products, including center-aisle items, alcohol, private label goods, prepared foods, and catering. 

You can use Mercato to facilitate online ordering and delivery on both mobile and desktop devices, with customizable mobile app listings and store branding. The platform also offers two-way point of sale (POS) integration for pricing, inventory, transactions, rewards, discounts, and coupons, along with real-time product management dashboards and order controls. 

Additionally, businesses gain access to the Mercato marketplace, which exposes them to a vast consumer base.

Average Onboarding Time: 24 hours

Pricing: Available only upon request

Customer Example: Broadway Marketplace

3. Freshop 

Freshop is a feature-rich e-commerce platform for grocery and specialty retail businesses. Key features include the ability to share digital weekly ads and circulars, enhancing the customer shopping experience by promoting price reductions and offers through email campaigns and social media. 

The platform is designed for seamless third-party integrations, allowing for the incorporation of various digital service providers, such as loyalty programs, digital coupons, email services, SMS/texting services, and delivery, among others. 

Additionally, Freshop provides fulfillment tools, including the Freshop for Stores App, enabling personal shoppers to efficiently manage online orders using their smartphones or tablets.

Average Onboarding Time: 24-36 hours

Pricing: $650 per store

Customer Example: Woods Supermarket

4. My Cloud Grocer 

My Cloud Grocer offers a specialized e-commerce platform designed exclusively for grocers, delivering a high-quality shopping experience across desktop, mobile, and native apps with ultra-fast page loading times. 

This platform engages shoppers and encourages repeat business through features like shoppable recipes, digital circulars, favorites, and quick reorder capabilities. My Cloud Grocer integrates with point of sale systems, credit card processors, and loyalty programs. 

Security is a priority with PCI compliance, and additional order fulfillment and delivery modules are available, complete with robust analytics and reporting features. 

Average Onboarding Time: 4-12 weeks

Pricing: Available upon request

Customer Example: Western Kosher

5. Instacart 

Instacart offers a comprehensive suite of services and technologies for e-commerce and grocery fulfillment. Their e-commerce technology suite powers online storefronts, allowing businesses to maintain control over their omnichannel experience. 

Instacart offers features like online ordering, purpose-built interfaces, smart recommendations, and integrated payment processing, including EBT/SNAP. 

The Instacart app provides end-to-end fulfillment technologies that enable rapid pickup and delivery, including real-time order tracking and communication with shoppers. Instacart's in-store solutions include AI-powered Caper Carts for efficient shopping and Caper Counters for quick and contact-free checkout. These offerings empower businesses to enhance the customer experience and streamline their grocery operations.

Average Onboarding Time: 3-6 months

Pricing: Available upon request

Customer Example: Natural Grocers

IT Retail guide to POS hardware

Get a Point of Sale Solution With an Integrated Online Grocery Platform 

If you want to level up your grocery store offerings and add an online grocery platform, any of these options are excellent choices with numerous features and benefits. However, managing inventory and sales data across multiple platforms can be a headache to say the least.

To get the most from your online grocery platform, ensure you have an all-in-one point of sale system that enables online grocery and integrates with the platform of your choice.

All five options listed in this post integrate seamlessly with IT Retail’s easy-to-use point of sale system. IT Retail also offers you the inventory management, flexible payment processing, and customer loyalty programs you need to run your store with ease.

Check out a free software demo today to see if IT Retail is the right solution for your store.