- A study by Brick Meets Click suggests that supermarket operators should consider utilizing subscription selling. The study found that much of the growth grocers are seeing today comes from shoppers buying specialized, high-value, free-from products — attributes retailers can position through subscription offerings.
- A report by Nielsen revealed that 68% of "more engaged" online grocery shoppers, 58% of "newer" online grocery shoppers and 50% of millennial shoppers are interested in the model.
- Meal kits are a strong subscription product for retailers, and have become a popular grocery staple for companies like Publix, Giant and Whole Foods.
Grocery subscriptions are nothing new, but the category seems to be trending, especially among millennial consumers. Popular subscription items include meal kits and both nonperishable and fresh grocery items. This model can also strengthen shopper loyalty and transform the grocery shopping experience into a two-way relationship centered around recipes, ingredient information and lifestyle tips.
This is an avenue that smaller retailers and niche grocers can really capitalize on. For example, Little House Green Grocery in Richmond, VA, offers a subscription for a fresh selection of local and organic produce, packed and ready for easy pick up every week. For 12 weeks, at a cost of $25 each week, the produce and two recipe suggestions are included with every box, and it can be picked up at the store every Wednesday after 1 p.m.
“We not only want to give people the vegetables, but ideas as to what to do with them,” Kittie Storey, kitchen and produce manager for the store, told Food Dive. “We are the place to go for local goods as we spend a lot of time searching them out and trying to foster small businesses just getting started. Because we’re small, we can be a great place for people to try out their products and see what they need to do to market and what that takes.”
Subscription services make both shopping and cooking convenient, especially for those with a time crunch who don’t want to think about what to prepare each day for dinner. This lucrative space isn't without its risks, however. It's possible that by offering store-branded meal kits online, shoppers will visit the physical store less often, eliminating the chance for impulse buys and exposure to cross merchandizing. As the trend gains more momentum — and major retail participants — it will be interesting to see what problems arise, and if consumer interest will hold strong once the novelty wears off.