Two reports show reasons to be optimistic about the future of grocery ecommerce. But as of now, retailers have not yet figured out how to make the omnichannel grocery shopping experience convenient enough for shoppers or—in the case of manually picked grocery orders, anyway—profitable.

A report from management consulting firm Bain & Co and Google says consumers see grocery ecommerce as not always more convenient than buying groceries in stores. For example, just 42% of first-time users say online grocery shopping saves time, though that perception changes as consumers stick with the practice and get used to it. 63% of those who have shopped for groceries online three times say that online grocery shopping saved them time compared to buying in a store.

Another report from CommonSense Robotics Ltd., an Israel-based company that makes warehouse robots for fulfillment centers, says major U.S. grocery retailers have invested more than $28 billion on grocery ecommerce capabilities since the middle of 2017. A lot of that money was spent to support a surge in at-store pickup locations and home same-day delivery availability by major retailers, or acquisitions, such as Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods. So far, though, grocery retailers are losing money on online orders, Commonsense Robotics says.

This article includes:

  • The consumer perceptions standing in the way of greater adoption of grocery ecommerce.
  • Why grocery chains have a good shot at turning their in-store shoppers into omnichannel customers.
  •  Data on the massive growth in the availability of grocery home delivery and at-store pickup points for online orders.

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