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Food and Drink

Erik Wallin

Erik Wallin is the Chief Marketing Officer and co-founder of Northfork, a personalised shop-by-recipe platform for grocery retailers. Northfork technology sits on a retailer’s website and allows shoppers to put everything they need in their cart automatically. This shop-by-recipe technology enables a hands-off, convenient shopping journey. Northfork is headquartered in Sweden.

One business success

  • My most significant highlight from 2019 was launching in the USA. Our tech was the fabric that connects Walmart and Buzzfeed Tasty, creating the Shoppable Recipes feature within the Tasty app. This new feature makes grocery shopping easier by enabling customers to add recipe ingredients featured in Tasty videos directly to a cart in app and pushed to Walmart online grocery cart through a deep integration. Two months after launch the click-through rate was an impressive 22%. 

Two challenges for the sector

  • Lock down has led to a huge rise in online shopping and an influx of new users.  Ocado’s sales jumped 40 per cent in the second quarter of the year thanks to surging demand for online grocery shopping. This surge stretched the industry’s capacity to the limit with customers trying everything they could to book a delivery slot.  Whilst capacity has now been increased, operational excellence will be vital to deliver a positive customer experience whilst managing a profitable bottom line.
  • The second challenge will be retaining online customers. Many people like to visit a store to browse what’s on offer, but with social distancing likely to be in place for many months, many consumers will stick with online ordering. Keeping these shoppers engaged will depend on feature development to enhance the online experience. Better payment solutions, recipe inspiration and increased personalisation will all be essential in the year ahead.

Three forecasts for the sector

  • Consumer habits have been radically changed by coronavirus and this will drive more and more grocery shopping online, not just for weekly big shop deliveries but for top-up shopping and individual meal occasions. Old forecasts about online grocery growth are obsolete and I believe online will represent 20 per cent of grocery sales in the next two years. Such growth presents an incredible opportunity for online grocery retailers who can capitalise on it.
  • In response to the demand for online grocery, retailers will develop smaller and smaller dark stores in urban areas so that they can fulfil more orders, more quickly and efficiently. This will lead to a profound change in the grocery industry’s infrastructure model.  
  • The world won’t be the same as the one that we lived in before. The psychological impact of COVID-19 is one that won’t disappear overnight just because we can all go outside freely once more. Engaging content has never presented greater opportunities for retailers than during this time of social distancing. Socially active retailers who can funnel shoppers into their online stores while also supporting them to discover new products and flavours have the potential to win big, not just during the extended lockdown but in the world that comes after the coronavirus pandemic ends.

June 2020