Redner’s Markets, a 64-store independent grocery chain, joined the online grocery scene with their “Redner’s Ready” e-Commerce solution via ECRS’ CATAPULT® WebCart™ platform. Learn how they navigated their entry to e-Commerce and the decisions made to ensure their online stores remain profitable amid labor challenges, customer demand, and general store operations.
with Nick Hidalgo, VP of IT at Redner’s Markets
Was Redner’s Markets ready for the consumer shift to e-Commerce?
The consumer shift came slowly with our introduction of SHIPT in 2019, which was successful and got us in the grocery game. However, with our legacy point of sale system, there wasn’t an easy way to enable a curbside offering. In early 2020, we saw a 500% increase in demand for online ordering with pickup or delivery. At this point we saw the need for our own white label online ordering solution – our customers were all but demanding it. That’s when we shifted to CATAPULT Retail POS.
Tell us about introducing CATAPULT WebCart at Redners.
As we worked through the CATAPULT point of sale rollout, we started planning our first online store for one of our two Fresh Markets. We were able to utilize aisle mapping from our previous solution and doubled down on data hygiene to prepare for our first online store with ECRS’ CATAPULT WebCart module. The process was simple: make any item with an aisle location available for the web from within the point of sale platform. No special coding or integration work was required.
How have store operations been impacted with the rollout of CATAPULT WebCart?
The WebCart rollout started as an IT project, as most of these do. However, the executive leadership team realized the need for someone with more of an operational background to elevate the program. We selected one of the most operationally minded and energetic store directors to take over day-to-day operations and work alongside IT to move toward program excellence.
How do pickers typically begin the day?
Pickers start their day by checking the web order queue to review their orders. We created a scheduled report that informs our management team at the store level what orders are showing to start the day. If there are no orders to start the day, pickers will help in other areas of the store and carry an iPhone to get order alerts as new orders come in. If there are orders to complete, pickers will start picking non-perishables first.
How do you balance customer services with available labor?
Ideally, each location trains a “lead” picker as well as most of their customer service team and store managers. Training is regularly conducted on live orders, which allows more people to be involved if needed. Guests should never see a gap in customer service and communication. If there is a breakdown in service, our Redner’s Ready specialist acts as a liaison between the customer and the store.
How does WebCart compare to other third party e-Commerce providers?
Redner’s Ready with CATAPULT WebCart allows us to provide Redner’s-level service throughout the customer experience without losing our touch. While the third parties did get us into the e-Commerce game, customers lost their personal connection to our brand. At times, they would get stuck dealing with the third party rather than our store associates.
When customers shop on a third-party marketplace, they can see products from our competitors in the same space. Depending on the promotion, they might be inclined to shop somewhere else.
How do you leverage fees to offset labor costs?
We came to the market late with WebCart, compared to other companies in our area. We also started out with higher fees, and while this was met with some backlash, most guests accepted it. Some even compare it to a tip on a meal: a $5 tip on a $30 meal is just under 17%.
Have you noticed a difference in basket sizes for online orders?
We noted that our online basket sizes were significantly higher than traditional basket sizes by an average of $70. We have even seen a higher Gross Margin on web-based orders as opposed to traditional orders. We attribute much of this success to exceptional customer service through open communication.