The demand from consumers for more convenient, quality meal solution options has many retailers looking for ways to satisfy their customer base. La Bonita Markets is one such retailer, and with the help of e-commerce company eGrowcery, the seven-unit grocery chain is able to offer a selection of prepared foods online.
Las Vegas-based La Bonita Markets started looking for an e-commerce solution early in 2019, well before COVID-19, because several important segments of the retailer’s customer base were asking for it and some larger chains in the market were offering it, according to a statement provided on behalf of eGrowcery and La Bonita Markets.
Companies like Amazon and Walmart, as well as local restaurants using services like DoorDash, offer online ordering with delivery or pick-up, but the community’s Hispanic populations have had fewer options until recently, the companies said.. La Bonita Markets saw this void as an opportunity to bring e-commerce to an underserved market.
“Supermarket operators are responding to consumer demand for convenience and quality by escalating their meal solution offerings, and we have purpose-built our platform to meet the new market requirements. Our team worked with current retail customers and other industry experts to ensure that shoppers can easily and effectively order prepared foods all within a singular, integrated shopper login,” said Patrick Hughes, CEO of eGrowcery, in a statement.
After launching online ordering with groceries and most of the fresh departments, La Bonita started adding the retailer’s full line of prepared foods. The eGrowcery platform features a module that helped the grocer easily integrate these dishes into the overall digital experience, according to the statement. The company’s technology provides features that “help shoppers and retailers manage order lead time requirements, order sizing, upselling, optional ‘made to order’ preferences and other fullfillment efficiencies,” eGrowcery said.
The grocer is starting to see growth in delivery of its retail-foodservice segment.
“The kitchen and our prepared foods area, which are a bit different from groceries because of the timing, has been received really well. It’s not as much as volume as our other grocery business but it’s going to grow,” Armando Martinez, co-owner of La Bonita, said in a statement.
The grocery chain has experienced significant sales growth since launching their digital offering, a trend it expects to continue next year. La Bonita Markets now offers Hispanic specialties like tacos, burritos and menudo—their most popular items—online using the eGrowcery prepared foods platform.
The process of deploying online ordering from eGrowcery at La Bonita Markets was straightforward, according to the statement. The retailer easily added the platform to the website, tested the system for store pick up to work out any issues, and was quickly training its team on the mobile app and reaching out to shoppers via a vast email database they maintain, the company said. La Bonita Markets pushed the news of the new service out via the grocer’s social media channels and in the weekly printed circular.
“The use of online ordering for our kitchen items, which is a bit different from groceries because of the timing, has been really well received. The volume for prepared foods is still smaller than the grocery business but it’s growing at a faster rate and we expect that to continue,” said Martinez, adding that the eGrowcery system is critical to that future growth.
Martinez said the grocer had several other requirements for the new platform, including easy customer and staff interfaces, and a comprehensive product assortment that could be implemented quickly. He said that he had met a few technology vendors at industry trade shows and determined eGrowcery checked all of the grocer’s requirement boxes.
In addition to expanding digital ordering to the rest of the chain, to meet customer demand, La Bonita rolled out eGrowcery's integrated delivery program, which coordinates transportation with local and national vendors. This was accomplished during the early months of the pandemic and resulted in a sales increase of 39%, according to the statement.
“Across the world, customers are seeking higher-quality food without having to prepare it themselves from scratch. This has contributed to the popularity of ready-meal takeaways and quick delivery,” management consulting firm Oliver Wyman stated. “These demand shifts are transforming the supply side of the market, driving cafés and restaurants to adjust their business models. At the same time, this shift opens new horizons for grocers and supermarkets. The ready-meals delivery market can strengthen food retailers’ competitiveness.”
Martinez said that La Bonita Markets is focusing on being the preferred food retailer for all of its customers’ needs, whether they come into the store or order online.