WMU News

Internet grocery shopping

Feb. 18, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- Tired of those long lines at the grocery store? Take heart. Shopping for groceries on the Internet is spreading and could significantly impact the industry, says Dr. Frank Gambino, a WMU associate professor of marketing and adviser to the University's Food Marketing Program.

"I do think that once we reach critical mass with home computers that this is going to take significant dollars away from the traditional way people shop for groceries," Gambino says. "Whether it will be 15 percent, that may be very optimistic. But I surely think 10 percent is within reach within the next five years."

Internet grocery shopping currently is only offered in large cities and is slated to come to the Detroit area soon. Gambino says grocery shopping online is an attractive alternative for today's busy families and the two-thirds of consumers who find grocery shopping objectionable. But it won't replace traditional grocery shopping entirely.

"I think most consumers will use it as an alternative," Gambino says. "They may use it for fill-in type shopping. I think some consumers are still going to want to go into the store. There's the sensory attraction of being able to smell, touch and feel the product and some people are still going to want that."

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 616 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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