Ecommerce has permanently changed how we find, buy, and receive our consumer goods, including food and drinks. Find out the latest trends shaping supermarkets today.


The pandemic pushed millions of consumers to buy their perishable goods online for the first time. Now, giving up the convenience and efficiency of ordering groceries online is difficult. From ordering home meal kits for the whole family to enjoy the convenience of heavy home goods delivered to your door, the digital transformation of the food and beverage industry is just getting started.

In today’s blog post, we discuss the changes in how shoppers get their groceries and how retailers use technology to meet the latest trends head-on and provide a better customer experience.

Omnichannel Ecommerce for Supermarkets: The Trends of the Future

During the pandemic, people headed online for groceries and other consumer goods. 2020 saw the most significant annual increase in the online grocery market in the U.S., with a 63.9% year-over-year growth. Forecasters estimate that online grocery sales in the U.S. will hit $147.51 billion by 2022.

These statistics show that even after physical stores reopen, consumers stand by their new purchasing habits and use digital channels to receive food and beverage products.

Consumers are purchasing groceries over multiple devices and channels. By the end of 2022, the number of adults using grocery store apps in the U.S. will exceed 30.4 million.

This flood of omnichannel shoppers exposes many new areas where grocery retailers can outperform their rivals.

As shoppers get used to omnichannel retailing, businesses will also need a flexible and future-proof ecommerce solution to meet their demands.

The Technology Behind the Supermarkets of the Future

Because numerous parts must work together to make supermarkets omnichannel, service integrators must weave ecommerce tools together. These solutions include an ecommerce platform, a product information management (PIM) system, and other components to ensure a scalable and adaptable solution.

A service partner that can deliver an end-to-end solution ensures that your key performance indicators (KPIs) are met. In particular, a skilled partner will enable an increase in conversions, the automation of tasks, and a reduced time-to-market.

Ecommerce in the supermarket sector is about the sum of the parts, more than just a PIM system integration. Grocery stores must consider broader factors to convert users. The success of supermarkets of the future depends on the service integrator they choose and how they use the technology to build a better customer experience for shoppers.

Related Reading: Grocery Ecommerce: 10 Things to Keep in Mind for Success

1 – Food and Beverage Direct-to-Consumer (D2C)

In the past, food manufacturers didn’t care what was happening online—distributors took care of that. Now, many distributors are cashing in on the growing D2C arena. It’s part of a more significant trend in D2C sales; between 2015 and 2019, the food and beverage industry was the fastest-growing sector.

This rapid growth is fueled by a change in consumer shopping behaviors from physical stores to more convenient, cheaper, and subscription-based online offerings.

2 – Building a Recipe Database: Follow My Diet and Build My Meal

The next step for the food industry is meal kits. Experts predict that meal kit sales worldwide will top 17 billion U.S. dollars in 2022 and grow to 33 million by 2026. It’s also a hot trend for younger consumers; 29% of Millenials and 26% of Gen X in the U.S. have purchased a meal kit service, compared to only 12% of consumers over the age of 45.

Both food labeling and recipe building create the perfect chance for shoppers to pre-select meals and ingredients online that fit their lifestyle.

A PIM system enables this by connecting companies in the food industry to a recipe database. All calculations and other parameters are covered, and the recipe explorer program handles the label printings, nutrition values, potential allergens, and more.

In this case, the PIM system would also serve as a PLM system in which you create a product. The PIM system also allows you to market the product to outbound channels.

Related Reading: PIM, DAM, ERP & PDM—What’s the Difference?

3 – A Personalized Food Shopping Experience

As grocery retailers move online, they see an increasing need to use the consumer data they collect through their digital channels to enhance personalized customer experiences. From offering appropriate substitutions when products are out of stock, to differentiating between the needs of in-store and online customers, grocery businesses must improve their ability to meet the needs of customers.

With help from consumer data and analytics, retailers can determine the best technology and tools to deliver satisfying, tailored experiences.

For example, younger generations are far more likely (71% v.s. 44%) to purchase organic and additive-free food. Calorie counting and food tracking are also widespread. Food and beverage retailers can unify a shopper’s personal health with what should or shouldn’t be on their grocery list.

With the help of technology, this isn’t a difficult feat. The shopper makes a purchase, then receives a graph with the calories that also syncs to a fitness tracker to see the calories burned versus the calories ingested. As younger shoppers expect an up-to-date feed on money spent and fat burned, your valuable data helps build a loyal customer base.

4 – Implementing In-Store Automation

Many retailers are turning to automation to help manage their digital and in-store business. Automation can handle tasks in the warehouses and backroom, and help customers through self-checkout terminals and aisle-scanning robots in-store.

Retailers are finding a goldmine of benefits in automation in the grocery sector—from offsetting labor shortages and paying existing staff more, to increasing efficiency for customers, it’s helpful all around, and it’s here to stay.

5 – Telling a Story with Social Media Influencers

Influencers are becoming much more critical to the food industry. From Michelin chefs to famous athletes to local fitness couches, influencers can attract new clients and promote in-store purchases. Imagine Gordon Ramsey saying, “You can make this meal in just 20 minutes—just buy these seven ingredients.” In the future, the food and beverage industry will consist of storytelling to excite and attract shoppers.

Let’s say Gordon Ramsey is releasing new recipes. You can relate all relevant products to his recipes as he markets them. Your ecommerce platform will recognize the effects attributed to Gordon Ramsey and encourage the user to read more. Because the same data exists in the PIM system, you can use the same information on other channels, such as Amazon. Without a PIM system, you would only be able to use the information on your ecommerce platform and lose the potential for an omnichannel shopping experience.

6 – Up Your Delivery Game

After super-fast food delivery options like DoorDash and Wolt hit the market, more ecommerce grocery stores are following suit by offering faster and more flexible delivery. Grocers must meet new demands from shoppers, such as same-day delivery or less. In order to stay competitive, grocery stores must establish a long-term solution for instant delivery.

7 – Nothing But the Best

Despite economic hardships brought on during lockdown, consumers still made room for premium grocery products, such as coffee, meal kits, alcohol, and more. We already mentioned that younger shoppers favor organic and additive-free food, which tends to carry a higher price tag.

Don’t miss out on a chance to increase sales with premium products. Even price-conscious shoppers may opt to splurge on specialty coffee or handmade chocolate. With the right tailored messaging, such as highlighting the “experience” around premium products for Millenials, you can tap into a whole new area.

4 Common Challenges for Online Supermarkets

1 – Meeting Quality Regulations

Food quality checks and regulations hold a crucial stake in the future of food and beverage retailers. In the European Union, numerous controls exist for how food is processed, distributed, and sold. Foods are checked for hormones, chemical residues, proper labeling, overall hygiene, fulfillment of animal and plant health requirements, and more. Though it seems challenging, a centralized database ensures that all your data is organized and up-to-date.

2 – Growing Your Food and Beverage Ecommerce

Quality regulations often stand in the way of growth for supermarkets. What if you want to launch your food products or online supermarket in multiple countries? This goal requires tracking a mountain of information. If you’re going to scale, your team will face the challenge of managing all this information through Excel documents.

A combination of a PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) recipe database, a PIM system, and a flexible ecommerce platform can help you overcome issues with scaling. If a grocery retailer wants to open a new store, they face upfront costs, such as buying land and constructing a building. Digital commerce eliminates these costs and many others.

Related Reading: What is PIM? The Benefits of Product Information Management

3 – GS1 Compliance

One key issue around the D2C channel for supermarkets is GS1 compliance. GS1 rules form a business language that identifies and captures essential product information to improve efficiency, safety,  and visibility across channels. However, GS1 standards can add a substantial amount of manual labor. Ecommerce technology helps bridge this issue.

4 – Food and Beverage Business-to-Business (B2B)

Historically, dedicated providers have sold food and beverages to corporate clients. Now, with the innovation and possibilities that digital commerce provides, B2C grocers are forging a new sales channel with B2B sales.

B2B consumers want the same easy and efficient customer experiences their B2C counterparts receive. Gone are the days of calling or faxing in orders; B2B customers want an online portal they can order from immediately.

Meeting B2B customers comes with its own set of demands in the grocery industry. From larger order sizes (an 8-roll pack of toilet paper won’t last long in an office building) to payments via monthly invoices, retailers must pivot their operations.

Related Reading: Vaimo Case Study–Royal Unibrew

The Future of Supermarkets

Vaimo worked with leading ecommerce platforms and cutting-edge PIM systems like Akeneo and inriver to ensure your supermarket ecommerce store is agile, scalable, and efficient. As a full-service omnichannel solution provider, our team is here to provide assistance that scales with your ambition.

Don’t take our word for it—our PIM integrations speak for themselves. Did you know that we developed the first ecommerce grocery store on the Magento (now Adobe Commerce) platform? Selver is Estonia’s largest premium grocery store chain, with over 53 supermarkets and hypermarkets across the country. As a result of the project, Selver saw a 160% increase in revenue and a 31.9% boost in its ecommerce conversion rate.

Read about our work with Selver here.

Want to supercharge your ecommerce supermarket? Reach out to us today!

Learn More >