Texas grocer H-E-B, facing increasing competition from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and The Kroger Co., is rolling out an e-commerce site.
H-E-B is making 50,000 shelf-stable food, drugstore and general merchandise products available for consumers to buy online and have shipped to their homes.
HEB.com also sells local favorites such as H-E-B Texas-shaped corn tortilla chips and Whataburger Whatafries. A company spokeswoman declined to disclose details about H-E-B’s e-commerce platform or any vendors with whom it’s using for e-commerce operations.
David Rogers, president of Northbrook, Ill.-based retail consulting firm DSR Marketing Systems, says H-E-B competes effectively with Wal-Mart by maintaining competitive pricing and a wide selection of products even though it operates large, conventional stores. “E-commerce is something that H-E-B wants to stay in the forefront of as it competes with Kroger and Wal-Mart,” Rogers told Internet Retailer. He says H-E-B’s decision to maintain control of delivery is probably the retailer’s way to keep a tight control on costs and leverage its extensive network of stores as warehouses.
H-E-B ships orders throughout Texas, to 46 states within the continental U.S. and to military bases worldwide. H-E-B uses standard shipping and, in some Texas cities, goods may arrive the next day, the company says. Shipping fees vary and average $5-$10 per order. Some products require a minimum order quantity, but all products are priced the same as in-store.
Products ordered online can be returned to an H-E-B store for a refund, or products can be sent back using free shipping, the company says.
“We’ve been receiving calls for decades from Texans around the country who miss their favorite foods from home,” says Martin Otto, chief merchant and chief financial officer for H-E-B. “Now, even if you move outside of Texas, you’ll still have a ‘neighborhood H-E-B’ just a click away.”
In April, H-E-B released a smartphone app that lets customers find stores, download coupons and find recipe items in a store.Favorite