Supermarket Perimeter - March 2021 - 26

Deli

Online ordering
AS DELI COUNTERS BEGAN CLOSING at the start of the pandemic
and the deli-prepared category took hits due to limited operations and
a new get-in-and-get-out shopper mindset, industry experts quickly
began drafting ways to bring the category back to its former glory.
Over the last year two key solutions have moved to the forefront to
improve prepared item sales: grab-and-go and online ordering. The
shift to grab-and-go has been a fairly simple move for most retailers,
but adding online ordering capabilities for prepared foods takes a little
more planning and a bit more of an investment. Getting those deliprepared items online though, is a worthy investment, noted Gauri
Munuswamy, senior vice president of sales and product development
for Mercato, a San Diego-based grocery ecommerce platform.
" Ten percent of the orders that we see on Mercato include items from
the deli, " Munuswamy said. " Having those options available is a great
way to get folks ordering larger baskets through being able to see all of
the different options and being able to think about what they want to
eat for dinner that night. "
Over the last year, Mercato has nearly tripled the number of
merchants it serves through the company's ecommerce platform.

Overcoming the challenges
While many retailers have moved typical grocery items - center-store,
produce, meat and bakery items, to name a few - online, specialty items
26 - MARCH 2021

BY EMILY PARK

like prepared foods are often the last items included on online ordering
platforms. That's because there is often an extra layer of challenges
around adding online ordering capabilities to prepared items.
Munuswamy pointed to two issues Mercato often sees: sometimes a
retailer's prepared items are managed through a different point of sale
system than the rest of the retailer's products, and often, prepared items
are constantly changing around a revolving menu.
Mercato can help retailers overcome both of those challenges. The
company's software was originally created for specialty food stores,
which fits in well with deli and prepared foods, Munuswamy said. With
Mercato's software, users can manage their items using either their
own POS or through the Mercato-created dashboard. Munuswamy
suggested a blended approach between grocery and prepared foods.
" Retailers can have their point-of-sale integration run all of their
grocery items and then have prepared foods operate in a different way, "
she said. " We have a central catalog where a grocer can go into their
[online] store and add a new item. They can also put in an expiration
date as to when the item is no longer available. "
When Mercato helps a retailer create their online platform, they can
also build out ordering capabilities for all deli and prepared foods that
a grocery store has offered in the last year. The retailer can then check
what's in stock and out of stock as needed. Retailers can also allow
shoppers to customize their orders as much as they want to.

supermarketperimeter.com

RAWF8, FANG ZHENG, FELIX MIZIOZNIKOV, LEUNGCHOPAN - STOCK.ADOBE.COM

PREPARED FOODS


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Supermarket Perimeter - March 2021

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