The grocery store industry has seen online ordering options gain tremendous momentum in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bruce Shirey, SVP of Business Solutions at Amaryllis, said the pandemic sped up the adoption of online grocery ordering and other home delivery programs at an accelerated rate.

“In a 90-day snapshot beginning with March 2020, monthly online grocery users clocked in at 46.9 million people. Thirty days later, in April 2020, the online user base grew to 62.5 million users, [and there was] an additional 17% growth to 73.5 million users by the end of May,” Shirey said.

A growth plan for Instacart of two to four years materialized within weeks, Shirey added.

Demand quickly became the No. 1 challenge for the grocery store industry as the pandemic caused product spikes throughout the supply chain.

“Stores had to begin limiting certain items to one or two per person shopping, whether it was online or in person,” Shirey said. “Some of those items took weeks to resupply because the manufacturers were equally surprised by the surge.”

From curbside pickup to home delivery and online ordering, grocery stores found new ways to provide solutions for customers during the pandemic, and some of these changes may become permanent.

“The key to long-term success with online grocery ordering would be the integration of loyalty and transactional data,” Shirey said.

With improvements to the consumer experience, online ordering may be the future path for the grocery industry.

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