By the year 2025, online grocery shopping could reach $100 billion in consumer sales, according to the recently released “Digitally Engaged Food Shopper” report.
Christiansburg’s Walmart will join the fray in the next few months. Local Kroger stores have been operating a similar service for the past year.
Simply put, grocery-shopping habits seem to be changing as consumers seek out the convenience of online ordering.
The Digitally Engaged Food Shopper report by the Food Marketing Institute and Nielsen said grocery is the next big retail sector that will be reshaped by online shopping. So, retailers need the tools to realize their connected readiness in order to meet the needs of the digital food shopper.
In the report, Chris Morley, president of U.S. Buy at Nielsen, pointed out every aspect of a shopper’s journey is influenced by digital, and increasingly, enabled by digital platforms.
“According to the research, today 59 percent of grocery shoppers look for sales or coupons on their mobile devices before going to the store, and 53 percent of grocery shoppers use retailers’ apps to shop at the store. This demonstrates the need for retailers and manufacturers to understand the science behind how consumers shop online versus in-store to order to continue serving the digitally engaged food shopper today and tomorrow,” he said.
Grocery shopping, according to the report, will reach digital maturity and saturation over the next 10 years faster than any other industries before such as banking or publishing.
Walmart said they are making grocery shopping across the country a lot easier, opening its 1,000 site this past November.
Customers will be able to visit Walmart.com/grocery or through the Walmart grocery mobile app, creating their shopping list and then selecting a time to pick up their orders.
The Christiansburg Walmart plans to designate specific parking spaces for pickup near the front of the building.
Personal shoppers will assemble the individual customer’s list, and then later bring the items to the customer’s vehicle.
Tuesday night, Christiansburg town council approved new signage at the North Franklin Street retailer that will advertise the online service. Store manager Brian Tickle said all of Walmart’s services will be advertised on its facade.
“We hope to place words on the façade like ‘online grocery’, ‘pharmacy’, and other things we provide,” he said.
Under the town’s newly approved sign ordinance, the façade advertising will be allowed. It would not have under the old ordinance.
In other matters at Tuesday night’s Christiansburg Town Council meeting, the governing body elected Councilman Brad Stipes to serve as vice-mayor for this coming year. In addition, council will continue to meet on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month.
The following committee appointments were also made:
Water, sewer and solid waste- Henry Showalter and Merissa Sachs;
Street Committee- Harry Collins and Brad Stipes;
Fnance- Showalter and Stipes;
Fire and Rescue- Sam Bishop and Steve Huppert;
Central Business District- Sachs and Showalter.
Council also reappointed Michelle Stipes as its meeting clerk, Mark Sisson as police chief, Valerie Tweedie as town finance director and treasurer, and the law firm, Guynn and Waddell as town attorney.
Steve Simmons and Amelia Tuckwiller were reappointed to the aquatics advisory commission along with newcomer Bev Bridges.
Council also received harsh criticism on how they have conducted a search for a new town manager. Chris Wallace said it was a waste of money to hire a consultant to find applicants for the opening. Instead, he said why doesn’t the group look to Randy Wingfield, the person that has led the town for six months in the interim basis.
No one on the governmental body responded to Wallace’s remarks. The effort to find a new town manager has already taken four months and a consultant was hired at just over $20,000 to help with the search. Council reappointed Wingfield as its interim town manager. Mayor Mike Barber did say he hopes interviews of finalists could take place by mid-February.
Council also agreed to lower the speed limit along North Franklin Street between Cambria Street and Independence Blvd. from 45 to 35 miles per hour. The change will take place on June 1.