Grocers are experiencing an e-commerce wake-up call.
As many grocers saw during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, sudden influxes in e-commerce traffic risks overwhelming backend processes, causing prolonged wait times for delivery slots and website or app crashes in times when customers need service most.
To serve as many customers as possible without disruption, grocers are looking for innovative ways to safeguard against the unexpected while continuing to provide seamless experiences for customers.
Effectively scaling e-commerce capabilities will rely on a combination of non-invasive and disruptive tactics to mitigate short-term, medium-term and long-term impact. Though overall strategies will differ, the fundamental questions grocers must answer are:
- Platform scalability: Will the existing e-commerce platform support increases in traffic as more customers shift to online ordering? When considering dark stores, which are not open to the public, what kind of scalability is achievable?
- Supply chain and operations viability: With uncertainty surrounding the duration of the pandemic, will grocers be able to keep supply chain, DC and store operations moving un-interrupted?
- New/updated offerings: How can grocers modify or introduce new offerings to maximize customer value, while keeping e-commerce systems running?
Cross-disciplinary squads must be created to identify and implement scalability levers, with appropriate representation from both product and engineering teams to identify opportunities and achieve these goals. These initiatives should be divided into two categories, with respective teams assigned to each project.