Stater Bros. stamps brand on expanded online grocery service

Stater Bros. Markets is expanding its online grocery presence under its own banner through a partnership with grocery e-commerce specialist Mercatus.

Plans call for Stater Bros. to assemble an end-to-end, scalable e-grocery platform — from the online shopping front end and fulfillment to payment and digital advertising — using solutions from Mercatus’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform and technology partners, Toronto-based Mercatus said Wednesday. The Southern California grocer operates 170 stores.

“Now more than ever, our customers are looking for the convenience of shopping online,” Pete Van Helden, CEO of San Bernadino-based Stater Bros., said in a statement. “We see this as an opportunity to build stronger relationships with our shoppers through an e-commerce journey that truly embodies our brand’s promise of excellence in food and service.”

The Mercatus solution will encompass a device-responsive online shopping site and an e-commerce mobile app enabling customers to shop Stater Bros.’ full range of products, including prepared meals and service-counter items like deli foods. Shoppers also will be able to choose from contactless curbside pickup or delivery and have the option to pay online with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) electronic benefits transfer (EBT) or EBT Cash benefits.

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The Mercatus-developed online shopping site will be fully responsive for optimized browsing on any device and include an e-commerce mobile app.

Stater Bros. also will leverage Mercatus’ Enhanced Fulfillment capability, powered in tandem with ADC’s ShopperKit and Flybuy. With ShopperKit, the grocer can scale its digital shopping experience by managing all in-store fulfillment activities for online orders, maximizing operational efficiencies to spur growth and profitability, according to Mercatus. In addition, Flybuy’s geolocation technology will expedite fulfillment of pickup orders to curbside customers in two minutes or less.

“With the Mercatus platform, we’re excited to offer a wide range of services and options to make online shopping even more rewarding,” Van Helden added.

Those services also include Mercatus’ integrated digital advertising functionality. Powered in partnership with CitrusAd, the ad capability will allow Stater Bros. to include CPG brand advertising on its online grocery front end and generate additional revenue, Mercatus said.

Sylvain Perrier, president and CEO of Mercatus, noted that its platform will elevate Stater Bros.’ brand in the online grocery shopping experience and give the retailer more control over its e-commerce business.

“We want to thank Stater Bros. Markets for its partnership and welcome this iconic retailer to our roster of grocery retail clients,” Perrier comment. “We look forward to working closely with the team at Stater Bros. to roll out a differentiated online shopping offering that will give the grocer the ability to strengthen connections to its customers and improve contribution margin in the process.”

According to the latest Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey, U.S. online grocery sales totaled $8.4 billion in April, more than four times higher than pre-pandemic levels and up 16% versus April 2020. Monthly active users made an average of 2.73 online orders in April 2021, up from 2.68 orders a year earlier, while share of orders received via pickup and delivery rose six and three percentage points, respectively.