Online Grocery Stores: How to Customize to Include the Best Practices?

Gayane Tamrazyan
Online Grocery Marketplaces

Grocery online marketplace is what can help people to order food remotely during COVID-19. That is the reason why this kind of business is at the peak of popularity. 

The total number of supermarkets in the U.S. has remained around 38,000 for several years. ‘Supermarket food sales hit an estimated 447 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, which accounted for nearly 60 percent of the U.S. retail grocery market.’

Statista

In this article, we will examine what are the best examples of the grocery shops selling online, specifics of selling groceries online and what you can do with your Multi-Vendor to repeat the industry leaders’ success. 

Grocery stores: the best examples

Best grocery delivery services as of 2020:

  • Instacart
  • Walmart Grocery
  • FreshDirect
  • Peapod
  • Google Shopping
  • Shipt
  • Prime Now
  • Prime Pantry
  • Beelivery: Grocery Delivery
  • Safeway Delivery & Pick Up
  • Dunzo: Delivery App for Grocery, Food & more
  • Shipt: Same Day Delivery
  • Publix Delivery & Curbside
  • Walmart InHome Delivery
  • goPuff: Drink & Food Delivery.
  • Local Express 
  • Mercato
  • NetCost Market

What should you consider before launching your online grocery marketplace

This type of site has its own characteristics you need to take into account to provide the best user experience. An online grocery store usually have:

  • Large number of commodity items;
  • Challenged tracking of stock balances;
  • Ordering by weight and specific unit measurement;
  • Geolocation and display of the nearest stores;
  • Specific target audience: 

Online shopping is mainly used by older and middle-aged working. They have less time to shop offline but they have credit cards to pay for their online orders. People of that age group do not often switch to product details, more often they simply add to the cart from the catalog, completing their shopping lists or repeating previous orders, and arranging home delivery.

It is undesirable to overload the page with small elements. Instead it is better to use readable fonts and visualization means to highlight items with color. For aged people, it is more convenient to receive SMS rather than an e-mail.

  • Use of step-by-step navigation and checkout;
  • Use of Assistive technology: items designed specifically to help people with vision loss or other disabilities, including screen readers or screen magnifiers and other devices for reading and writing with low vision;

Tip: Google Analytics Enhanced eCommerce can help with estimating the age of the target audience to adjust your UX/UI elements.

Features to leverage grocery shop performance

Geolocation, stores near you and pick up from store

Although pickup in store is available by default starting from 4.10.1 version of CS-Cart, you can expand this functionality with other useful features.

Add a popup to your homepage prompting buyers to choose their location or add automatic location identification.

Online Grocery Stores: How to Customize to Include the Best Practices?
Wegmans Store

You can also allow your vendors to specify their time slots when customers can pick up their orders from them. Our add-on Vendor Business Hours will be helpful for this task. But you can go further and add an option to indicate the amount of orders vendors can fulfil within the established hours. Once the available maximum time slot is exceeded, the option to choose this vendor pick up point won’t be feasible for the customers. This feature will save a lot of time for your vendors and can potentially improve your customer satisfaction as they won’t have to wait in long queues.

You can allow your customers to see their location on the map and the closest pick up points. But the issue is where to place this map. It can be placed on the vendor page or right on the homepage. Also, a selector of the delivery method (delivery or pick-up) can be indicated on the same page.

Online Grocery Stores: How to Customize to Include the Best Practices?
LocalExpress Map
Online Grocery Stores: How to Customize to Include the Best Practices?
Shop at NetCost Market Popup

TaxJar calculations

As your vendors can ship their groceries to customers from different states where tax accounting may vary, you should define an appropriate tax accounting software that automatically considers all the legal issues with taxes. We have the TaxJar Calculator to arrange the tax calculations dependent on the state automatically. In that case, the marketplace admin or vendors can specify their API keys (TaxJar account required) to connect nexus for the active states where the business is run and apply the required sales taxes. 

Minimum order 

Online Grocery Stores: How to Customize to Include the Best Practices?
Shop at NetCost Market Notification

If you do your business mostly online, you may need to specify the minimum order amount to ensure that the cost of shipping the order is worthwhile for your business. A minimum order is the smallest order amount in one delivery to spread delivery costs over an economical number of units. You can enter this amount allowed to complete checkout. If the order total is below the minimum, a notification will be displayed and customers will have to continue purchasing in your store until the required sum is achieved.

Connect grocery order delivery services, GPS tracking, and payments

Our study of the most downloaded food delivery apps shows that Postmates, Uber Eats, GrubHub, Doordash, and Deliveroo are among the leaders in industry. So, we analyzed some features provided by those apps to share them with you so that you could connect a grocery delivery service via API.

Look at Zomato API. It offers data about over 1.5 million restaurants in 10,000 cities over the globe. Their API allows searching for restaurants by their names, cuisine and location. Connecting this or similar functionality service to your CS-Cart/Multi-Vendor, you can get a list of nearby restaurants with all their details such as their rating, address, and menu. 

Take the Postmates example. It uses Foursquare’s Places API to fetch restaurant listings and show them to customers. Their app is integrated with the  local search and discovery service known as Foursquare. With the help of their API, users can search for menu, price, and meals.

A must-have feature connected with a modern grocery store is the advanced filtering system allowing visitors to specify their preferences and health limitations.

Online Grocery Stores: How to Customize to Include the Best Practices?
Filters at Shop at NetCost Market

You can also include delivery tips for drivers when the order is delivered to the customers’ doors. This also can be implemented through customization of the standard functionality. Your customers will see a widget prompting them to leave a predetermined sum if they want to recompense the driver for the service. 

Online Grocery Stores: How to Customize to Include the Best Practices?
Drivers’ Tips

Estimated delivery time

It would be nice if you could give your clients an idea of the time when their orders will arrive. Take a look at Pizza Hut and Postmates. They provide this feature to customers to tell the exact delivery times. You can use our add-on Shipping Estimate for this purpose.

Payments

We suggest you provide as many payment methods as you can in addition to the default CS-Cart ones (PayPal, Stripe Connect, Ping++, SagePay, and WorldPay). 

You can connect Apple and Google Pay, Payeezy, or Braintree Marketplace Gateway to let users pay by credit or debit card and accept payments via Visa or Mastercard. 

Geolocation 

Uber was among the first apps who offered on-demand delivery services. Other companies like Deliveroo, Postmates, and Doordash followed their example and adopted a similar delivery tracking technology. With your CS-Cart/Multi-Vendor platform you also have an opportunity to add GPS tracking to determine the user location. This feature is very convenient to show the driver location to your customers and provide them with a great user experience.

Based on the type of devices, use either CoreLocation framework (iOS) or Google’s Geolocation API (Android) to define a geographic region and monitor movements of the drivers. Then, connect MapKit or Google Directions API to provide driving directions. Finally, you will need to integrate a mapping software like Google Maps or TomTom’s NavApp or rely on the Waze Transport SDK. All of them are good if you want to please both the web and mobile users.

Selling product by weight

A peculiarity of selling food online is its weight. You can’t exactly say what will be the weight of a chop unless your vendor cuts it. To tackle this issue within your shopping software, you can indicate an estimated total weight with its price and then withdraw the exact amount once the order is delivered. 

Online Grocery Stores: How to Customize to Include the Best Practices?
Estimated Weight

Closing

The list of possible customization features to cater for the online grocery ship development can be endless. But with the best examples and our experience, you can start gradually implementing them into your CS-Cart or Multi-Vendor software. Hopefully, some of the features are available through default functionality or via an add-on. If you need a more advanced technology or logic being implemented in your grocery store, you could rely on our 15-year web development experience.

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