The concept of eFood is booming and getting more and more successful worldwide. Many companies are currently jumping onto the eFood trend. But what does the buzzword eFood actually mean? When someone is speaking of eFood, they usually mean grocery sale online. This shows that digitization affects all verticals – also the grocery sector.  But eFood does not only mean the pure sale of groceries over the internet like large European supermarket chains such as REWEMerkur, and Tesco (full-range retailers) are doing, but also smaller service providers with innovative concepts. Examples are HelloFresh and Blue Apron; these companies deliver cooking boxes with creative recipes and all necessary ingredients. Also, there are companies like Foodora and Deliveroo which collect meals at the customer’s favorite restaurant and bring them to their doorstep with the help of their own drivers.

eFood: Benefits and challenges

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There are obvious benefits that eFood has: Time saving, no carrying of heavy shopping bags anymore, products that are always fresh and a delivery that fits into the individual schedule of the customer.
But it’s also clear that there are special challenges that occur when selling groceries online. The biggest challenge might be logistics, though. How do you ensure that the products are cooled correctly, fresh and arrive on time at the customer’s house? A study of EHI Retail Institute demonstrated that only 9 of 35 analyzed eFood shops are facing up to the biggest discipline: nationwide delivery. Some are using DHL as a logistics partner, others use a courier service or DPD – most businesses also combine different delivery options. Businesses that are only operating regionally or in big cities often have their own delivery service.

The technological potentials have to be used

The EHI study shows that the grocery business only takes up 1.5 percent of the total online retail business. Also only a few companies are using commerce online to its full potential. Also only 10 of 35 analyzed shops have a mobile version of their site or an app, that enables the customers to do their weekly grocery shopping on the go. But this service orientation is the key asset of the online grocery retail business. ‘Convenience’ has always been a recipe for success and combined with the right technology there are several competitive advantages for food companies. When launching an online shop for groceries, especially fast development and implementation of new features are important.
With its API-first architecture and its cloud-based delivery model, the commercetools platform is the ideal basis for modelling complex business processes such as grocery delivery. If you’d like to learn more about REWE uses our platform to maintain all articles for its delivery service, take a look at our case study about the REWE PIM or get in touch!