Back in 2002 we wrote the online grocery ordering system for a local grocery store chain called Thrifty Foods.  It was very much an experiment, but it was one based on the values that Thrifty Foods was founded on strong customer service principles, and empowering its front line workers to meet customer needs.  Online store basically provided another channel to connect with their customers.  We operated that system for our customer over 12 years.  

We have recently created a new generation of online grocery ordering systems for several others, including Fresh St.

What have we learned?

There was an early move to online grocery ordering back in 2002.  The system we built back then was part of that early wave and it not only survived, but thrived.  At the same time, there have been several others that have come and gone. What makes one system sucesful while others fail?

Keeping it Easy to Use - The mechanics of the user experience - it has to be responsive, easy to use, modern and simple.  It is a difficult balancing act, but we do recognise that there many users of these system with older, sometimes out of date browsers, limited bandwidth, and older computers.  We need to make it work for them as easily as it does on the latest generation of technology. 

Telling a Story - It is about telling the story of where our food comes from, what is in our food and those secret recipes that turn great ingredients into great tasting food.  When we first started building these sites, the grocers that used our technology could only upload a simple low resolution photo and a one line description.  Now they are able to go deeper.

Making it Cost Effective  - Home delivery and online groceries can be more costly that conventional grocery ordering.  We help our customers automate much of that process, so that they can meet their customers expectations every time.

Shift to Mobile - We started as a mobile software company back in 2002 when there was little interest in mobile, so we focused on optimizing our solutions for desktops.  The world has changed, and today any solution has to work as well on a mobile device as on a tablet or desktop. 

Groceries are Different - There are special challenges to how groceries are handled versus most other online ordering systems.  The platform we use to build our solutions understands how product weight, zone pricing, special requests and home delivery is managed.  Something you just don't see in conventional online shopping cart platforms.

 Making it Work?

It also has to work financially.  Doing so involves creating an inviting online experience where consumers can better differentiate between commodity and premium products, as well as driving down the cost of picking and delivery.  Our solutions focus not only on creating a consumer friendly environment but also one that is financially viable.  .  

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