Unbundling Supermarkets

Author: Gary Reid
12th May 2020
Digital Marketing / PPC / Search

One of the unforeseen success stories that have emerged from the current crisis is peoples appetite to unbundle the supermarket. Supermarkets have put pressure on small specialist retailers, such as butchers, veg shops and bakeries for decades, in recent years, some, especially bakeries have made a comeback.

However, as finding a time slot at for an online delivery at one of the major supermarkets has been like hunting a unicorn, people have prompted a wave of direct-to-consumer pivots from the wholesale food industry.

Butchers and veg suppliers have repurposed their restaurant delivery services to home deliveries. Wholesalers have become an impressive army of home deliverers. Is the D2C revolution starting to erode the grip that supermarkets had on consumers? This report in Grocer shows how sales fell back in April compared to March this year, but still significantly up on April 19.

But small changes in behaviour can lead to more universal trends, home deliveries of milk are on the rise as well, are we changing?

Just as Netflix, Amazon and Disney started to slowly draw people away from bundled subscriptions with the cable companies, are we seeing the start of a rollback to pre-supermarket behaviours?

Dan Calladine, an old colleague and renowned writer on media futures wrote about recipe kits and the changing demand in one of his recent newsletters here.

If you are an independent looking to pivot into direct to consumer what online marketing should you consider?


Social media is a great start, Ottolenghi managed to fill the order books of his favourite veg supplier with one Instagram post.Ottolenghi veg supplier

Instagram may not be the natural place for a wholesale veg company to look but some good outreach. Not everyone has Ottolenghi on the books so it needs a considered plan to determine a good mix of sponsored posts and paid adverts to work. 


Search has to be one of the simplest ways to build a customer list and get the orders flowing in. Right now as we’ve seen consumers are struggling to find home deliveries, so if you can offer next day delivery of fresh veg or meat you can gain traction easily.

Pick the right partner and you can also get a discount on CPC’s when using product adverts on Google and this can be a great way to attract new customers.

Just look at the increase in search volume for ‘meat box’.

search volume for meat box

Competition, however, is there, but every supplier has limitations and a campaign that runs around location and time of day can make sure the van is full of orders every single day. 

The plan shouldn’t stop there. Investing time, effort and money in finding new customers is just the beginning, the next step is to retain them and make them regular users and that’s where you need a good CRM strategy (customer relationship management), keeping in touch and ensuring your clients don’t slip back into the supermarket.

If you need any help making your online selling work harder for you then get in touch, we specialise in helping brands sell more online and have years of experience doing it.

POSTED IN: Digital Marketing - PPC - Search