All major United States grocery retailers are competing for a share of the fast-growing e-commerce market, particularly sales of perishables such as seafood. Some retailers are finding more success than others.
While Amazon is the leader in grocery sales, some experts are predicting Walmart will grab a much larger share of the market in the near future and may even surpass Amazon.
Now, Zandaam, The Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize is projecting it will double its e-commerce net sales by 2021 to around EUR 7 billion (USD 7.9 billion). The grocer operates Stop & Shop, Giant Food, Food Lion, and Hannaford stores in the United States, as well as online grocer Peapod, Albert Heijn, and Bol.com in the Netherlands and Belgium, Delhaize in Luxembourg, and many other outlets.
Ahold Delhaize’s overall net consumer online sales soared 27.6 percent in the third quarter, boosted by a very strong quarter for Bol.com. In the United States, Ahold Delhaize’s online sales rose 11.8 percent, “supported by improving sales trends at Peapod,” the retailers said in a statement.
Peapod, which has USD 1 billion (EUR 884 million) in annual sales, sports a wide variety of fresh seafood items, including Nature's Promise Free from Salmon Fillet Antibiotics/Growth Hormones and previously frozen Yellowfin tuna steaks. There are also a variety of its Peapod Meal Kits available on the e-commerce site, including Ponzu-Glazed Shrimp Basmati Rice and Peanuts.
Steven Johnson, grocerant guru at consulting firm Foodservice Solutions, is not surprised by Ahold Delhaize’s aggressive online growth plans.
“Peapod delivers all fresh items and has a very good, growing, and profitable business model,” he told SeafoodSource.
Ahold USA plans to expand store pickup services from 250 stores to more than 600 by the end of 2019, while also investing in micro-fulfillment centers at stores that will strengthen its delivery operations, David Bishop, partner at retail consulting firm Brick Meets Click, told SeafoodSource.
“Their goal is that 65 percent of their customer base will have access to both delivery and pickup options,” according to Bishop.
Stop & Shop is focusing on freshness, value, and variety – and meal solutions are a key component of its strategy, Bishop said.
“At the same time, Ahold USA is improving its online shopping services across the divisions by striving to offer the same assortment that’s in the store. So, when you connect the dots, fresh departments should grow at faster rate both online and in-store,” Bishop said.
Ahold Delhaize’s new “Leading Together” strategy, presented at Capital Markets Day in New York, New York, focuses on five key areas: omnichannel growth, including e-commerce and meal solutions; healthy and sustainable; technology, including artificial intelligence and robotics; portfolio and scale efficiencies; and “best talent.”