Originally posted October 18, 2016.
The Wall Street Journal outlines the fresh produce strategies brick and mortar stores like Wal-Mart and local grocers can utilize against Amazon to compete.
While Wal-Mart and other retailers, including Ahold USA and Meijer Inc., are pouring money into ramping up online sales, the grocers are also buckling down on the basics of the produce department. That’s because high-quality fruits, vegetables and other fresh foods are emerging as a physical store’s best defense against growing competition from Amazon.com Inc.
Many customers decide where to shop based on the quality of the produce.
Online food and beverage sales are growing fast, up 20% since 2013, but still make up a tiny 0.16% of the $670 billion food and beverage market, according to Commerce Department figures. Only 4% of consumers said they purchased some produce through online grocers in the past year, a 2015 Nielsen survey found.
Amazon wants part of the valuable market. It plans to build small stores that sell perishable foods and allow shoppers to order shelf-stable items for same-day delivery.
Wal-Mart has long struggled to become known for the best produce, not just low prices on bananas, onions or other staples. Greg Foran, Wal-Mart’s U.S. CEO of two years, is pushing stores to change. During a surprise visit to a Wal-Mart in Dearborn, Mich., earlier this year, Mr. Foran spent “80% of his time in produce.