Walmart.com is the most preferred online retailer for buying fresh foods, while Jet.com takes top spot for packaged groceries, according to a new report from Field Agent, a market research firm based in Fayetteville, Ark.
The report, which compares four major ecommerce retailers – Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Target.com and Jet.com – shows that one-quarter (25 percent) of Walmart.com shoppers purchase fresh foods from the site, compared with 10 percent, 8 percent and 5 percent at Target.com, Jet.com and Amazon.com, respectively.
“Walmart.com provides more options to buy not only electronics … but groceries as well, and they give me the option to … pick it up from the store, free,” a survey respondent said.
Considering that Amazon has become a huge threat to retailers across the board, why does its number of fresh-focused fans pale in comparison with those of Walmart’s online operation? The category remains a predominantly brick-and-mortar (B&M) affair, said Chris Medenwald, marketing manager at Field Agent, so it stands to reason that ecommerce retailers with pervasive brick-and-mortar operations will enjoy important strategic advantages over their online-only rivals with fewer stores.
“Perhaps this will change as Amazon makes further inroads into B&M retail, but, for now, Walmart.com enjoys tremendous omnichannel leverage – which is especially important in the grocery category,” he noted. “With Walmart.com, shoppers enjoy the convenience of online shopping alongside the fresh appeal and immediate gratification of brick-and-mortar retrieval. So, while in shoppers’ minds, Amazon currently excels Walmart.com in many categories, Walmart’s advantage in the fresh grocery space feels like a strategy to really build on.”
Also encouraging to Walmart.com: The research suggests that digital shoppers appreciate the “store tie-ins” that the digital storefront provides. Such tie-ins could include in-store pickup, curbside pickup and site-to-store discounts.
“The combination of fresh grocery with store tie-ins is one place Walmart – and Jet – can really apply pressure to Amazon,” Medenwald stressed, “though the clock may be ticking.”
As for packaged groceries, 44 percent who shop Jet.com purchase these goods. This compares with 30 percent, 25 percent and 18 percent doing so at Walmart.com, Amazon.com and Target.com, respectively.
It appears that Jet.com could be distinguishing itself in shoppers’ minds as an online destination for packaged groceries and household consumables. Originally, Jet.com might have seen this area as a niche to focus on initially, while others focused on higher-margin items. Additionally, Jet.com doesn’t have the necessary infrastructure to support fresh groceries, while Walmart has owned that space for decades. The synergy between the two brands – which came together last summer after the former acquired the latter – could help them hold stronger ground in grocery ecommerce.
“It’ll be interesting to watch whether Jet can continue to carve out this niche,” Medenwald observed, “and how Walmart might achieve further site-to-store synergies through its Jet operations.”