With more people pressed for time and dreading additional errands, ordering groceries online has become one of the most popular consumer trends. Even though grocery delivery has been around for years, it's starting to catch on with the average shopper.
Convenience a major factor
More grocers are offering consumers the opportunity to have their groceries delivered to their doorstep. Customers can avoid driving to the store, wandering through aisles and waiting in line. Busy professionals love the idea, as do parents who want to skip dealing with the hassle of getting their kids ready to go to the supermarket and keeping track of them once they've arrived.
Green advantages also sparking interest
Convenience isn't the only attractive element of this trend - environmental friendliness is also an advantage for many people ordering groceries online. New research from the University of Washington shows that contrary to popular belief, it is actually more sustainable for consumers to purchase food on the web and have delivery trucks make optimized rounds than it is for every shopper to make a weekly trip to the store.
Researchers at the university found delivery trucks dropping off groceries emitted between 20 and 75 percent fewer pollutants than the amount that would be released into the air by multiple families all driving different cars to the supermarket. Reduction in carbon emissions were even greater when customers were flexible with grocery drop-off times - pollution could be reduced by as much as 90 percent, according to the study.
"A lot of times people think they have to inconvenience themselves to be greener, and that actually isn't the case here," said Anne Goodchild, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Washington. "From an environmental perspective, grocery delivery services overwhelmingly can provide emissions reductions."
Businesses need to optimize as more consumers take advantage of services
With more consumers gaining an interest in home grocery delivery, companies that offer the service will need to guarantee processes are optimized to handle additional business in the future. By employing solutions like route planning software, these companies can lower their fuel costs and spend less time on the road, thereby emitting less pollution. The benefits received with route optimization software include providing drivers with street-level, turn-by-turn driving directions; improving customer service; and lowering operating costs.