Albertsons, the nation’s third largest grocer, recently announced it is discontinuing its in-house grocery delivery system, replacing thousands of jobs by outsourcing its delivery operations to Instacart.
Despite feeling like they keep everything in place and static, for the people under lockdown, quarantines are quite dynamic. Measures to address a pandemic, and the way people respond to those measures, change over time and seemingly on a dime. We did not all suddenly shift into pandemic mode and stop evolving and adapting.
In these times, grocery delivery can be stressful. An anecdote: Hearing that Amazon Prime Now grocery delivery windows were being released at midnight each day, last night (or was it this morning?) my man and I set our alarm and tried to time it just right. But the stress of rushing through our grocery shopping combined with miscommunications led to a late-night (or was it early-morning?) shouting match about shared responsibilities, mutual respect, and the difference between ‘want’ and ‘need.’
Whether you work in the grocery industry or just rely upon it, it is at the top of your mind right now owing to the vital role it plays in keeping everybody fed and safe in the midst of what is becoming our new collective nightmare. It is a national barometer telling us how panicked people have become and how much they are already altering their routines; grocery stores have also become a flashpoint where these changes play out before us. Every day for the past couple of weeks, news outlets report on the chaos unfolding and how different grocery stores are rising to the challenge.
It is a transitional moment for convenience stores and today’s decisions will shape the industry for the decades to come. Owing to three pivotal trends c-stores must embrace or reject (fresh food, frictionless checkout, and cannabis sales), a new crop of omnichannel grocery competitors, and continued concerns regarding safety, c-store operators have a lot to think about moving into the new decade.