Grocers have been increasingly building out their e-commerce fulfillment capabilities, with Kroger launching its own first-party delivery service and Walmart piloting last-mile delivery with Spark Delivery.

Increases in mobile activity also point to the growing role of m-commerce in grocery. A fifth of US adults will use apps to order groceries by 2019, according to a new study, a 50% increase from last year. But are grocers digitally poised to meet this mobile demand?


Currently, 90% of grocers with mobile apps allow customers to build shopping lists, according to Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Grocery. Mobile apps across The Kroger Company’s enterprise brands are best-in-class, earning an average rating of 4.1 stars on the App Store. Users can build lists by scanning products with smartphone cameras and subsequently find their aisle location in-store.

However, only 45% of these grocers allow customers to order through their app. Brands like Albertson’s, Publix, and Ralph’s have partnered with Instacart to create dedicated delivery apps, which often outperform the brands’ own shopping apps by both usage and App Store rating. Grocers that don’t offer a checkout option on their mobile apps miss a key opportunity to drive sales from customers already interested in the brand.

If grocers want to capitalize on the one in five adults who will order groceries via mobile app by next year, they need to quickly ramp up and expand mobile capabilities beyond just list building. Those who choose to partner with Instacart must consider the risk of losing customer loyalty and data, as Instacart credentials are required for log-in. Either way, it will prove essential for retailers to streamline mobile commerce with order fulfillment to capture customers through a seamless experience.

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