Online retail is now a firmly established reality in our daily lives. However, online grocery shopping has yet to become such an embedded reality for the Canadian consumer. This is set to change over the coming years, as industry observers predict a surge in high profile providers pushing us away from the check-out lane, and towards our digital devices. This transition will rely on well-trained supply chain and logistics professionals, who will help ensure this transformation of the grocery sector can take place.
What does this mean for recent graduates of supply chain and logistics programs? Here’s just a small taste.
An Expanding Market in Every Sense
Figures show that the Canadian buying public has not been tempted towards online grocery shopping thus far. In fact, online sales only take up $2 billion of this $100 billion market. However, industry observers have noted that big changes seemed to have started brewing in 2017. Sales are predicted to swell up to $4 billion over the next couple of years, and big industry players like Loblaw have announced plans to expand home delivery options.
Other developments south of the border might also creep their way north, either through expansion or simply by inspiring other businesses to follow suit. In particular, Amazon’s landmark purchase of the Whole Foods brand and launch of programs like Prime Pantry opens up its huge client base to the world of ‘one click shopping’. Industry observers have already pointed out that Whole Foods supermarkets already in operation in Ontario could act as the perfect springboard for that company’s online grocery campaign in Canada. Along with the rapid expansion of online grocery start-ups like Instacart across Ontario, and the prospect of lean European competition from the likes of Aldi putting a further squeeze traditional supermarkets, it seems like the future of groceries in Canada could soon get a lot more digital.
Food Expiration Challenges Underline Benefits of Comprehensive Logistics Courses
Groceries differ from other e-commerce products—such as clothes or electronics—in that the products sold often have restrictive expiration and refrigeration constraints. Even Amazon has encountered this as an issue, with customers still more likely to buy less-perishable items like coffee and candy than to opt for fresh veggies and fruits. Graduates of logistics courses will certainly find a rewarding challenge working in this sector!
To overcome this problem, highly efficient logistics efforts will be important. Ensuring that goods are properly stored in warehouses, and that products are quickly delivered in order to avoid spoilage will be essential. With the help of innovative supply chain professionals, customers will be able to order groceries online without fear of defrosted or spoilt products arriving.
‘Bricks and Clicks’ Combo Stresses the Importance of Finding Creative Solutions
While online retailers push forward, professionals with supply chain and logistics training may note an interesting retail trend. Increasingly, online retailers are appreciating the benefits of brick and mortar supermarkets. These can continue to make sales in the traditional way, but can also act as well-positioned distribution points for online orders, with the likes of check-out employees being re-designated as order fillers.
This new kind of retail could offer an interesting solution to graduates who want to ensure that goods ordered online are properly stored before last-mile transport to the houses of customers. With the industry evolving, innovation and efficiency measures will be actively sought to ensure all purchasing avenues are being used effectively.
Do you want a rewarding career helping world-class businesses run smoothly?
Contact us at Anderson College to learn more about the benefits of our supply chain training program.