Online shopping gets mixed results for Baton Rouge grocers

Offering online ordering and grocery delivery for customers has produced mixed results for Baton Rouge grocery stores that rolled out the new service earlier this year.

Alexander’s Highland Market owner Lathan Alexander has seen online orders steadily increase each month since the grocery began offering the service last spring. The store handles eight to 10 deliveries a day, which he says isn’t a significant part of the business just yet. However, Alexander anticipates deliveries and online orders to continue to gain popularity.

The store originally launched the delivery service, for minimum qualifying purchases of $100 with a $19.99 delivery fee. That minimum purchase requirement has since been scaled back to $50, along with the delivery fee—which now varies depending on the delivery distance.

“Delivery and online ordering is the new trend stormed onto the scene,” Alexander says. “If you’re going to stay in business, you have to react to the evolving changes in the marketplace.”

Matherne’s Market also rolled out online shopping with in-store pickup in the spring, as well as deliveries from their LSU area store in October. Owner Nathan Matherne says while the grocery hasn’t made its ROI with deliveries yet, he anticipates it will soon. He’s noticed a marked increase in online orders the last three months and is planning to offer deliveries from the market’s other locations early next year.

Meanwhile,  Hi Nabor Supermarket President Jim Crifasi says online ordering hasn’t caught on for his supermarkets thus far.

“Honestly, it’s been kind of slow,” Crifasi says.

Hi Nabor offers online ordering for pickup at its Jones Creek location, and Crifasi says he was looking to expand the service to the other stores if it was successful, but if online orders continue at the rate its been, they won’t.

“It’s not paying for itself right now,” Crifasi says. “I think people still prefer to shop by touching, feeling and seeing the item rather than having someone shop for you.”

Hi Nabor does offer grocery deliveries for elderly residents who can’t leave the house, but Crifasi says he hasn’t thought about expanding deliveries to all customers.

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