Not just for restaurants, DoorDash has expanded to a comprehensive suite of products to help local businesses win customers in their neighborhood—and grocery stores are one of the newest, fastest-growing business types that DoorDash supports.

Today, online grocery shopping and delivery is booming. According to Supermarket News, nearly 60% of U.S. consumers buy groceries online—a number that’s projected to grow as shoppers stick to the habits they picked up during the pandemic. Ultimately, online sales of groceries are expected to triple to reach a total of $74B by 2023, according to a 2020 report on the blurred line of brick-and-mortar grocery shopping from research firm Acosta.

It’s not just online-only retailers like Amazon that are seeing growth, either. The same report from Acosta shows that companies that connect a brick-and-mortar store to customers are closing the gap and growing their online customer base faster than Amazon. There are also a variety of ways customers enjoy getting their groceries from local shops. The report shows that 46% of online grocery shoppers prefer to pick up their groceries, while 26% reported getting items delivered with a delivery service or partner.

Meet grocery customers where they are

How should grocery retailers capitalize on these trends? Luckily, there’s no shortage of options to choose from. Read below to find a solution that works for your unique business’s needs.

Offer online grocery ordering

First, offer online grocery ordering to meet customers where they’re already shopping—on their phones. Today, according to a 2020 mobile phone study by Acosta, 89% of U.S. grocery shoppers are using a smartphone—and about 60% of them have used their phones to browse groceries online.

Many grocery stores, particularly bigger chains, have invested in their own online ordering apps. You can also choose to work with an online partner, like DoorDash, to accept grocery orders online. Or—choose both. Located in Western Australia, independently-owned grocery store IGA Nollamara has chosen to take advantage of both IGA’s corporate app, as well as partnering with DoorDash to grow their orders incrementally on the DoorDash platform.

“A large portion of our DoorDash sales are from first-time customers,” owner Jorge Rocha explains. “DoorDash helps us get extra sales with virtually no impact to our capital expenditure and cost of sales, which makes a major difference for independent stores like us who run businesses in a very competitive industry.”

Offer grocery delivery and pickup

As a brick-and-mortar grocery retailer, there are also a couple options for offering grocery delivery and pickup. First, you can train your own staff to pack, prep, and deliver groceries, ensuring a seamless handoff to customers. If you go this route, you’ll want to procure delivery vehicles and ensure your drivers are set up with the right insurance and develop company policies and procedures for handling online orders.

Alternatively, to add to your existing team and cover more orders or a wider delivery area (or simply to avoid the hassle of hiring delivery drivers), you might also choose to partner with a third-party delivery service. With DoorDash as your delivery partner, you can either pack and prep orders yourself or have Dashers do it. Once an order is handed off to a Dasher, you can track fulfillment progress and troubleshoot any issues through the DoorDash App. 

Today, 89% of U.S. grocery shoppers use a smartphone.

How DoorDash works for grocery stores

Similar to how DoorDash works for other business types, the platform is designed to make ordering online as easy as possible for grocery stores and their customers. Here’s how to get started and manage everyday operations when working with DoorDash as your grocery delivery partner.

1. Sign up for DoorDash

The first step is to sign up as a DoorDash partner for grocery delivery, which you can do here. Simply share basic information about your business, and a merchant expert will reach out shortly to get you set up on the DoorDash platform. Whether your business is a specialty food shop, like a butcher, or you specialize in international foods, as long as you sell grocery items, you’re eligible to partner with DoorDash for grocery delivery.

2. Set up your online grocery store

Next, with the help of a merchant expert, you’ll set up your online store on DoorDash. This gives your brick-and-mortar location an accessible, searchable presence on the DoorDash App, so that customers can search for and find your business. To upload your list of grocery items offerings, simply share your inventory files, or exports from your POS system, and a merchant expert will help you update your grocery menu on DoorDash. 

Jorge, from IGA Nollamara, was immediately impressed with the experience. “Everything from the pre-set menu to setting up the tablet was well thought-out. It was breezy to get up and running,” he notes.

3. Accept, pack, and prep orders

Once your store is up on the DoorDash platform, customers will be able to browse and shop your grocery items. At checkout, a few things can happen:

  • If your workflow is to pack and prep DoorDash orders with your own staff, called Merchant Pick, you’ll have the opportunity to review and accept the order through your DoorDash tablet, and confirm a pickup or delivery time. If an item is out of stock, you’ll be able to contact the customer and suggest an alternative. Then, you’ll pack the bags and have them ready for pickup by a customer or Dasher.
  • If your workflow is to let Dashers pick the items, called Dasher Shop, a Dasher will arrive at your store and shop according to the list. If an item is out of stock, they’ll contact the customer and suggest an alternative. Then, they’ll get in line and pay just like any other customer—except they’ll be paying with a provided DoorDash credit card to help manage the transaction smoothly.

4. Make pickup easy for Dashers and customers

Many businesses choose to create a designated space in their shops for DoorDash delivery and pickup orders, making it easy for incoming Dashers and customers to know where to go to pick up their bags. Use clear signage to ensure the pickup process is easy and convenient, whether it’s a customer’s first time picking up—or their 50th. Learn more tips for improving the Dasher pickup experience with advice from real business owners and Dasher Leo Ney, who has completed more than 13,000 pickups in his six years on the DoorDash platform.

Additionally, when partnering with Dashers for delivery, you’ll be able to track fulfillment progress through the DoorDash tablet and confirm that items have been delivered to customers.

5. Use other DoorDash tools to grow your online grocery sales

As a DoorDash partner, you’ll also get access to built-in marketing tools to increase your orders. Sign up for DashPass to access a high-value pool of loyal DoorDash customers. Or, try in-app marketing promotions like “First Delivery Free” or “$X Off Next Order” to help you reach—and re-engage—customers on the DoorDash platform. These are a great way to grow online grocery sales in addition to your other marketing efforts.

Additionally, DoorDash can also supply in-store marketing signage to help businesses get the word out that they offer delivery services. Contact your local rep for more information.

Get started with DoorDash grocery delivery

Ready to check out? Add grocery delivery to your list and start offering customers the convenience they crave. Whether you deliver orders in-house or work with a third-party partner, there are a variety of ways to make grocery delivery work for your store.

Curious about what it’s like to work with DoorDash? New DoorDash partners get their first 30 days at 0% commission—that’s like trying DoorDash free for 30 days. Sign up for DoorDash grocery delivery and start your trial today.

Offer grocery delivery with DoorDash

Ali Cottong
Ali is a freelance content marketer with a wide range of experience crafting content and strategy for brands that include a world-renowned design agency, a men's artisan boot company, that app you use to request money on your phone, and more. Ali originally earned her nerd cred as a world-class Quidditch player and has competed in the Quidditch World Cup twice. She currently lives in Oakland where she's traded her broomstick in for a bike.