A long, long time ago in seemingly a galaxy far away, we studied whether consumers would like to order groceries online.
No, I guess it wasn’t in a galaxy far, far away…..it was the mid 1980s when I was with Booz, Allen and Hamilton in New York City. We did a huge piece of demand work looking at whether consumers were interested in buying groceries “online”. I am not even sure we used that terminology. We researched online grocery and many other services including online information and home banking.
The study found that consumers were VERY interested in buying groceries online. (And many other services, imagine that!)
The core demand was there as best consumers could envision such a thing.
But feasibility took some 20 – 25 years and I would argue perhaps as much as until the 2020 Pandemic to really turbocharge demand.
We always knew that the margins were tight on conventional grocery stores and the growth of Walmart and Target in grocery sales has made the business even more challenging.
But the enabling technologies have become available that just weren’t there in the mid 1980s……broadband service (though not everywhere even today), personal computers, tablets and smartphones, the Internet, online services, GPS, and wireless apps…..
So that I could pull into a spot marked #5 at King Soopers (a member of the Kroger chain) and punch a button on my mobile app and have my groceries loaded into my trunk in 9 minutes.
But not the Italian parsley as the app wasn’t quite smart enough to offer me organic Italian parsley or the curly stuff in conventional or organic versions. (Or even dried?)
And I loved that groceries came in heavier quality bags than what is at normal checkout for consumers…..what’s up with that????
So, the challenge to all new products people and marketers, what people want vs. what is feasible operationally…..
Flying cars, anyone?