photo: Supermarket Display

With the proliferation of technology and the growth of e-commerce, more people are turning to online stores for products such as clothes, electronic goods, books and even groceries.

Time-strapped individuals, driven by convenience, find online supermarkets an appealing choice. These shoppers no longer have to take time out of their busy schedules to shop at a brick & mortar store. Instead, they complete their grocery shopping at the comfort of their own office or home, and the items are delivered with just a few clicks.

Several supermarkets and grocers have taken their business online in Singapore, with Redmart, Giant and The Fish Wives as prominent examples.

Redmart is one of Singapore’s largest grocery stores online with over 5,000 items. After doing some comparison and research, it is found that Redmart’s prices are comparable to items in conventional supermarkets such as Fairprice. Delivery is free for minimum orders of S$75 (US$55.55) while first time buyers need to have a minimum order of only S$49 (US$36.30). In addition, first-time buyers will enjoy S$10 off their total tab for the minimum order of S$49. A fee of S$7 (US$5.18) is chargeable for delivery of orders that do not meet the minimum amount.

Redmart offers a series of products and credit card promotions from time to time. This may be appealing to customers shopping for value. It also has a points system that credit customers for every purchase they make. These points can be used to offset subsequent purchases.

Another hypermarket in Singapore, Giant carries a wide variety of fresh produce and frozen food. Giant charges a delivery fee of S$7 for orders above S$60 (US$44.44) and S$12 (US$8.88) for orders below S$60.

Giant offers credit card rebates and a rewards system which will appeal to price-sensitive customers. Giant stores their customers’ order histories – through their online account – making it easier for customers to purchase similar items in subsequent orders.

Moving away from brick and mortar supermarkets, The Fish Wives is an online wet market that imports “the finest” seafood, meat and gourmet products from Australia and New Zealand. The main items being sold are fish and meat such as New Zealand King Salmon and Kuhlburra by Barramudi Asia. Its unique selling point is that all products are non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) and free of hormone, antibiotic, mercury, steroid, and growth enhancer.

The Fish Wives carries marinated whole chickens and chicken carcasses for soup stock as well as various chicken parts. Delivery is charged at S$10 (US$7.41) per order and while fish orders are delivered within a week, chicken orders are delivered within one to two days.

Looking outside of Singapore, Line Corporation has also recently launched an online supermarket in Thailand. Users simply add existing Line official accounts – “Line Hot Deal”, “Line Hot Brand, and “Hot Deal: Living” onto their friend list and they will receive notifications when there are available deals. It promises discounts on everyday food staples and offers free delivery within the country. Payment is done through Line’s “Prompt Pay” platform which stores credit card details, as well as delivery details for users. Line is also currently working towards accepting cash on delivery (COD).

In Malaysia and Indonesia, a new grocery shopping application, HappyFresh, was launched recently. HappyFresh lets consumers order groceries directly from offline supermarkets with orders being delivered as quickly as within the hour. HappyFresh hires personal shoppers who are permanently stationed at the partner stores to fulfil each order.

Although online grocery shopping might seem appealing, there are several benefits to shop at a physical supermarket. For example, marketing promotions and discounts can be more novel and engaging at the store. Gimmicks such as discount coupons and free food samples can attract consumers into visiting the supermarket for greater savings. In Mexico, the Dancing Cow has been making its rounds advertising for Alpura – a Mexican dairy brand – and gaining much attention and laughter. Another benefit to shopping at a supermarket is that you can select the chicken or greens personally and not worry about the quality of the item.