The unique thing about time is that we all need it, but regardless of how much material wealth we have—we can’t buy it.
This is why time is so difficult to quantify—in the traditional sense, we all wish we had more. Some would say that an hour of time is equal to an hourly wage, others value time in leisure as priceless. However one thinks of the time, it is expensive. Recent advancements in online shopping and automation in distribution, especially for fresh groceries, may allow shoppers to get some valuable time back.
Retailers with robust e-commerce programs and automated distribution are giving time back, and shoppers are reaping the rewards. Professor David West of East Carolina University tackles this idea from the consumer perspective. Citing data from the Time Use Institute, Dr. West concludes that individuals spend a total of 100-150 hours, or one week, per year in grocery procurement time. This one week could be spent catching up at the office, spending time with family, or even taking a vacation. What’s the price tag on that? Fortunately, individuals can price this according to their own will.
Individuals spend a total of 100-150 hours, or one week, per year in grocery procurement time
The ease with which shoppers order and receive their favorite groceries online removes the need for driving, browsing through aisles, and waiting to check-out. The end result is the gift of extra time-up to one week for each shopper. This extra time is the ultimate customer rewards program, and because time means something unique for each individual-it’s priceless. Shoppers may spend this valuable resource checking off to-do lists, while others may make more time for kids. Ultimately, the reward is more freedom that’s exceptional retail customer service.
So, how can retailers provide time for customers? The answer lies not only in front-end e-commerce tools, but also an omnichannel back-end automation processes.
Automatic picking, packaging, and order-verification create a streamlined and efficient shopper experience. Although effective e-commerce operations provide order tracking services to consumers, all automatic processes for picking and packing occur without shoppers being present. Instead of wandering aisles and waiting in lines, e-commerce shoppers can continue their day knowing their grocery order is being delivered. Expanding automation distribution and processes within the food retail e-commerce sector can ensure grocery retailers are delivering what all shoppers need—more time.