For 2014, online grocery sales are estimated by BMC to be about $27 billion. Since online sales will increasingly cannibalize in-store sales, Bishop suggested traditional brick-and-mortar grocers respond accordingly.
"The question and opportunity is who will capture the growing online sales. Will the in-store lost sales be recaptured and offset by your online channel or lost to the competition? It's a good time to step up your online game," Bishop said
Currently accounting for about 4 percent of market-level spending, online grocery store sales are expected to account for between 11 percent and 17 percent of the total over the next decade. Some major markets, such as New York and San Francisco, could exceed that level while others may fall below that 11 percent figure, where there is less invested online, Bishop added.
PJ Stafford, co-president of Honest Green, the eCommerce division of United Natural Foods, offered suggestions to manufacturers looking to enter or expand in the online arena. He noted Amazon's growing importance in this sector as it reaches 62 million grocery shoppers each month and 52 percent of consumers who have bought canned or packaged goods online.
Brick Meets Click, is a retail consultancy founded in 2011 by Bill Bishop and Steve Bishop.