MSC Monthly Buzz – October 2015

Wal Mart is rolling out their new “Curbside Picking” program for online grocery sales !
 Are you ready to compete?

The pictures above were taken earlier this week at a Wal-Mart Supercenter and a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market location that are both about 3 miles away from our office in Chandler, Arizona. 
The picture below is from their Bentonville, Arkansas location. 
12 Hours Ago Walmart Announced Their Expansion of Their Online Shopping Program Featuring Store Pickup and “Personal Shoppers” 
Walmart has over 4,500 stores and 70% of the total US population lives within five miles of a Walmart store.
They announced yesterday that they are expanding their new  online grocery shopping program to more cities.  The cities they now have online shopping with “at store pickup” for groceries includes:
Huntsville, Alabama
San Francisco
Tucson (announced yesterday)
Atlanta (announced yesterday)
Nashville (announced yesterday)
Charlotte (announced yesterday)
Although only 2% of grocery sales were online last year, this rapid expansion on online grocery shopping with Walmart will make an impact on all independent stores.

Target Corp recently partnered with Instacart in Minneapolis;  Amazon is testing delivery in Seattle, New York, Philadelphia and California for a $299 annual fee. Walmart is rolling out online shopping with store pickup at WM Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets. 
There’s a race going on today —- are you even in the race? 
Ok…… what does this mean to the independent grocer?
It means you can no longer wait to get involved in an online ordering program for your store but it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to offer home delivery – you can offer (like Wal-Mart) store pickup at your store.
Look around your store and you’ll see your own “personal shoppers” working for you already.  Your employees know your customers and they know where to find all the products you sell in your store — and quickly.  Why not consider getting into online shopping now?
These excuses no longer are barriers to offering online shopping:
1. Online shopping only represents 2 to 5% of store sales?  Why should I do it?
You should do it to cement the bond you’ve invested in over years and decades with your shoppers.  Don’t let your current sales base evaporate as shoppers decide to buy groceries online.
2. It’s too hard to do.  Why should I do it?
You think it’s too hard?  You’re in the wrong business if you think that hard work doesn’t exist in the life of an independent grocer.  Innovation leads to success.
3. I don’t want to deal with PCI compliancy and credit card breaches.
With a store pickup program you can opt to use your existing front end scanners to settle funding if you wish.  If your store front end is PCI compliant – your’e ready to go.
3.  It’s too expensive.  Why should I do it?
It’s true that if you have to invest more than you get from a program, you shouldn’t do it .  It the past the technology investment and software investment has been cost prohibitive for stores doing less than $100,000 a week to even consider – but today you can easily make money on online shopping with store pickup.
4.  Nobody is making money with online grocery shopping.  Why should I do it?
Because now any store doing $25,000 a week in sales volume can offer online shopping and make money with just 3 orders a week.  It’s a new day.
Options available to Grocers today – for online shopping services

As you know, MSC has partnered with online shopping services for three years in terms of assisting our customers promote their chosen program with digital marketing.  As an independent retailer, you choose your provider and we help you promote your chosen provider online, with eBlasts, digital signage and social media.

If you want to check out your options, here they are.  You should talk to those you’re interested in to understand their agreement requirements, any upfront funding to pay for the launch of your new online website, the ongoing weekly or monthly costs for their program and the features they offer.
To help give you an idea of the relative program expense, I’m using the traditional $ to $$$$$ scale to give you just a relative idea of expense.  You’ll also see that I’ve used a   scale using a to &&&&& to provide a relative idea of features available to grocers in 2016.
Since each of the companies mentioned below require confidentiality agreements with their retailers/prospects I can’t comment on their features or pricing – you need to contact them directly.

$$$        &&&&&

HomeTown Grocers has been in the online shopping business longer than any other provider and offers (my opinion here) the most complete and thorough solution to retailers.


$$$$$     &&&&&
Popular with larger regional chains and retailers, they have advanced features (that come with a hefty price tag).   (third party branded provider)

$$$$    &&


$$$$      &&&
This longtime provider has experienced a pretty substantial change in their business and has recently transformed to a new company called “Brick Inc.”
4. Rosie App:  A unique offering that provides a third party solution whereby the Rosie folks manage the retail prices offered on the online site.  Most ad items are matched but it’s important to note that it is a “branded” solution.
Again – with all these folks, they are capable of helping you with your solution but your due diligence needs to include knowing all the costs and benefits.

A New Low Cost Player Has Emerged –

$         &&& is relatively new to the online grocery shopping business and works exclusively with small, midsize and large independent grocery stores out of their office in San Francisco (Santa Ana) .
In full disclosure, is engaging MSC to assist them in helping any of their customers with their digital marketing to promote their GSW provided program.  We are asked to help retailers plan their initial release of GWS’s program and to help them with ongoing eBlasts, web promotions, email promotions, digital signage announcements, text message promotions and other digital promotions.
Stores don’t have to utilize MSC’s services however, they can promote their programs on their own if they wish but we hope to partner with all stores needing our help.
Like the other providers mentioned above, they GWS has solutions for independent grocers and have focused their offering on the lowest costs available in the industry and the scalability of their program.  They liken their services to allowing a retailer to choose a Ford or a Maserati .  If you will only drive a Maserati then you can get one but if you want to start out with a Ford and upgrade to a Corvette then up to a Maserati you can do so on your own timeline.  Why buy more than what is needed today?
And, why signup for a 36 month lease on a Maserati vs. a day to day lease on the Ford and change vehicles as you wish and when you wish?
I’m sure their appeal will be the combination of not requiring a term agreement coupled with lowest cost in the marketplace.
Since  has told me that their program details do not require any confidentiality agreements to disclose, I’m sharing their specifics below.
The highlights (public) of their program includes:
Agreements:  They do not require term agreements.  Retailers can start and quit at will once they begin the program.
Features:  They believe that it’s important for independent grocers to take a “crawl, walk, run” approach to online shopping.  They currently offer a program that is very basic but works well for stores who are interested in “online ordering for store pickup.”  Although I’d describe their offering as “basic” it has most all features that others have been offering.  Most of the “bells” and some of the “whistles.”
They have announced that they intend to release their advanced programs in early 2016 and stores can upgrade to those programs as they are made available.
Costs:  They, like all other providers, have a one time cost to build and launch their store online websites but it appears to be about  70% less expensive than most others’  one time costs.
Their ongoing weekly costs appears to be about 80% less expensive.  Keep in mind that a 80% savings is substantial but all others have one solution that is “full featured.”
GrocersWebSolution’s 2016 plans calls for their own “full featured” solution that appears to be about 60% less expensive than most competitors.
For those interested in the program you can go to their website at:  and complete their “Contact Us” form.

Our Summary:

Pick the program that best aligns your requirements with the right provider.  If you run a $250,000 per week store and believe you can generate 8% of sales on line, you can afford to consider any of the solutions mentioned above.
If you want a company to handle telephone call-in orders – you should talk to Hometown Grocers.  If you are interested in sophisticated offerings with CPG funded ads on your website – you should talk to MyWebGrocer or Brick.
If you don’t mind a third party branded site to sell groceries from your store at prices they determine – you should talk to Rosie App.
If you’re an store generating between $25,000 to $150,000 a week and have no immediate plans of delivering groceries  or if you’re a retailer not willing to sign a term  agreement with any provider….. and you can afford about $25 a week —- you should talk to the GrocersWebSolution folks.
Lastly, if you’re not interested in online shopping you don’t need to do anything.  However you will have shoppers migrate to online solutions from others .
How We Can Help:
We’re hoping that whoever you choose to partner with, you’ll choose MSC to help you market and promote your program with our digital solutions.  We’re in the business of helping retailers with low cost digital marketing solutions.  We don’t have our own solution to compare to those that are available but we can help you promote whoever you choose to partner with.
If you want us to have any of the companies mentioned in the post to contact you for a presentation just let me know and I’ll have them contact you directly.