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Antti Rajala: Growing online grocery requires taking click & collect services to a new level – and big investments

26.08.2021

Online grocery has been a hot topic in Finland after the surge in demand seen during the Covid-19 pandemic. Much of the focus has been on selections, user interfaces and ways to make in-store collection and deliveries more efficient.

However, one other important aspect that affects growth in online grocery is improving pick-up services for online orders. Home delivery has dominated in Finnish online grocery, while the click&collect option has remained somewhat underdeveloped.

Consequently, click&collect accounts for a very low percentage of online orders in Finland when compared to other countries. For example, 50% of customers in Sweden prefer pick-up over home delivery, while in K Group’s stores, pick-up accounts for just 36% of online orders – or 20% in the Greater Helsinki area.

It is clear that the development of click&collect services will be crucial for further growth in online grocery. This means that we will need take the pick-up customer experience to a whole new level. The fundamentals are already in place, as many customers enjoy the flexibility pick-up offers, allowing them to collect their purchases from the store whenever it best suits them. Prices are also lower compared to home delivery.

Easier to find, faster to access – even at night

In K Group, there is a concentrated effort to make pick-up services even more flexible and customer-friendly. We aim to offer click&collect services extensively across the country, so that our customers can easily collect their grocery purchases on their way home from work or before arriving at their summer cottage. I for one enjoy saving time on weekends by picking-up all my burger ingredients pre-collected from the store near our summer place.

We will be employing new visual elements to make the pick-up points easier for our customers to find. The new K-Nouto click&collect service is first being piloted at K-Supermarket Mankkaa in Espoo.

We want to increase the flexibility of pick-up times for customers, and certain stores, such as K-Citymarket Easton and K-Supermarket Mustapekka in Helsinki, even enable night-time pick-ups.

It is important for us to ensure a quick pit stop for the customer, and thus we’ll offer a one-click solution instead of having the customer send a text message to inform the store that they are coming to collect their shopping. For an even smoother experience, we are also trying out new solutions such as drive in lanes.

We are engaged in development efforts on many fronts, and have invested millions of euros in it. We are extremely curious to see how our customers welcome the new solutions.

As the leading online grocery trade operator in Finland, we want to bring the best international practices to our customers, which is why we are carefully surveying the various click&collect solutions currently being tested by operators such as ICA and Walmart, as well as learning from the leading online grocery pick-up country in the world, France.

Antti Rajala

Director, eCom & Digital Services, Kesko

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