We are hiring! See available positions ⟶

The pandemic has caused online grocery sales to skyrocket, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down. In 2020, digital grocery sales in the United States grew 63.9% year over year. They’re projected to grow another 12.3% this year, meaning they’ll exceed $120 billion, as shoppers continue to rely on ecommerce to meet their grocery needs.

Given the threat of new COVID-19 variants, some shoppers remain cautious. Health and safety concerns continue to drive the demand for contactless grocery fulfillment options, such as home delivery and curbside pickup. Click and collect is on track to make up nearly 35% of US digital grocery sales this year, with the majority of online sales fulfilled via home delivery. Other customers, excited to celebrate the holidays with family and friends, are planning large, in-person gatherings to make up for last year’s restrictions. Grocery retailers should anticipate a mix of behaviours as consumers return to in-store shopping: customers still expect a high level of convenience, including services such as pickup and delivery, which they’ve come to rely on over the past two years.

To keep up with the spike in demand during peak periods like Thanksgiving and the winter holidays, grocers need agile and powerful tools to provide customers with simple, safe, and convenient service. Here are five key strategies that will ensure your business is ready for the holiday rush.

1. Scalable cloud technology

In today’s digital landscape, where consumer demand can spike suddenly, scalability is key. Is your ecommerce engine up to the task? Orckestra’s platform, built natively on Microsoft Azure, can leverage the global scale and key innovations of this cloud giant.

Don’t overspend on just-in-case infrastructure. Instead, harness the power of the world’s most robust enterprise cloud. It offers unlimited scalability so your website can automatically scale up based on consumer demand.

2. *NEW* Configurable timeslots for home delivery and in-store pickup

To meet the holiday rush, it’s essential to have a flexible system that lets you manage grocery fulfillment and timeslot reservations. That’s why Orckestra is excited to launch configurable timeslots for home delivery and in-store pickup, a new feature that’ll make for smooth sailing during peak season.

Configurable timeslots will prove essential if you choose to hire more store associates or extend your opening hours. As your capacity to fulfill online orders grows, you’ll want to offer additional timeslots for home delivery and in-store pickup. Conversely, if your resources are already stretched thin, this option will allow you to decrease the number of timeslots available during peak periods. In other words, with Orckestra’s new feature, you can easily adjust your number of available timeslots to meet your changing needs throughout the year.

3. A pick-and-pack solution that boosts associate efficiency

Since stores get busier leading up to the holidays, you may be extending your opening hours and hiring extra staff to cope with the increased demand. Is your technology up to the challenge? Orckestra’s Pick and Pack solution, tailored specifically to grocers, can be integrated directly into your mobile devices equipped with scanning devices. It’s intuitive and easy for seasonal employees to learn, requiring minimal training and eliminating the risk of errors.

4. Easy access to gift cards for last-minute holiday shoppers

Don’t miss out on last-minute gift card purchases—even online! According to the National Retail Federation, 12% of planned gift card purchases in 2020 were for grocery stores and gasoline. Make it easy for your customers—both online and in-store—to add a gift card to their cart. Just as you would strategically place them near your cash registers in-store, be sure to highlight them on your home page or recommend them before your customer completes their transaction online.

5. A personalized online shopping experience that capitalizes on impulse buys

Impulse buys aren’t just an in-store phenomenon. Make sure your customers can find the products they want and need quickly—and that they can easily make the connection between price and value. Orckestra’s Commerce Cloud platform lets you create a truly customized experience for your shoppers: you can suggest ingredients for their favourite recipes, remind them to pick up recurring purchases like milk and toilet paper, or provide personalized recommendations based on dietary preferences, such as vegetarian or gluten-free options. It’s a great way to spark impulse buys, which are less likely to occur online than in-store.

Learn how your company can meet customer demand during peak seasons

Don’t get caught unawares—gear up for the holiday rush today! Contact Orckestra to discuss your strategy for the holidays and learn more about our solutions. Find out how we can help you break your sales record this peak season.