Is H-E-B’s e-grocery playbook a primer for taking on Amazon?
H-E-B is just oh so slightly better at online grocery than Amazon.com.
That’s the finding from the first annual “eCommerce Retailer Preference Index” (RPI) from dunnhumby.
Texas-based H-E-B snagged the top spot in the ranking based on “a consumer survey-informed statistical model that predicts how retailers execute on the customer needs that matter most” when it comes to building emotional bonds with customers that lead to higher, more profitable sales.
The margin of victory was narrow for H-E-B — close to a statistical tie with Amazon. Amazon Fresh was third on the list, followed by Walmart, Sam’s Club, Kroger, BJ’s and Sprouts.
“H-E-B’s impressive performance proves that it’s possible to compete and win against Amazon when it comes to grocery e-commerce. Their success offers mid-size and regional retailers a roadmap on how to succeed online,” Grant Steadman, president of North America for dunnhumby, said in a statement. “H-E-B’s eCommerce journey goes back to 2015, when they first started with curbside pickup, and they have since built up a powerful online ecosystem. The combination of a simple and easy-to-use shopping experience with a fantastic emotional connection with customers shows how grocers can thrive in this multichannel landscape.”
Dunnhumby is not the only firm that has sought to identify the best online grocer in the business.
Chicory’s “2022 Online Grocery Usership” survey placed Walmart at the top and Amazon second as customers’ source for online groceries, according to a report from the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA). Instacart placed third in that survey, followed by Target, Kroger, Albertsons, Stop & Shop and Shipt. The survey also found that Walmart is growing more popular with Gen X shoppers.
The findings, with regard to Amazon, are more consistent with what dunnhumby reported in its “2021 Retailer Preference Index,” a study that tracks the entire grocery channel and is separate from the recently released e-commerce study. The 2021 RPI found that Amazon had outperformed both H-E-B and Trader Joe’s in terms of customer preference. Walmart lagged far behind in that survey, coming in fourteenth place. The 2021 RPI attributed Amazon’s positive performance to its speed and momentum in managing the novel coronavirus pandemic.
While its only U.S. locations are in Texas, H-E-B is the fifth-largest grocery operator in the country. In addition to its grocery stores, it also owns and operates a number of restaurants, food-to-go dining concepts and healthcare clinics.
- H-E-B Edges out Amazon as the Top U.S. eCommerce Grocery Retailer, dunnhumby Retailer Preference Index Finds – dunnhumby
- Walmart Winning Over Gen X for Online Grocery – Private Label Manufacturers Association
- Covid-19 Propels Amazon to Top U.S. Grocery Retailer for the 2021 dunnhumby Retailer Preference Index – Business Wire
- H-E-B is right at home with its new shop-in-shop concept – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What characteristics set apart the top players in e-grocery? Does H-E-B’s success hold lessons for other online grocers?