Loblaw Investments in Digital, Healthcare Lead to Online Surge

The retailer saw a 175% spike in online sales after improving pickup and delivery options.

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Need to Know 

  • Loblaw has shared its third-quarter earnings: an increase of almost 7%, resulting in total revenue of $15.7 billion.
  • Online sales alone for the Canadian retailer grew 175%.
  • Like many retailers, the spike in e-commerce sales is due to changing consumer habits amid the COVID-19 pandemic and Loblaw’s investment in curbside pickup and delivery.
  • The retail brand has also invested in healthcare, with an improved Shoppers Drug Mart website and app, as well as other virtual healthcare offerings.

Analysis

Canadian retailer Loblaw has posted third-quarter earnings, revealing the company’s online sales have more than doubled since this time last year. Like many retailers booming in the online space, Loblaw has the pandemic to credit for the boost. 

The company, which invested in improved pickup and delivery options, posted an overall third-quarter revenue of $15.7 billion—an increase of 6.9%. E-commerce alone grew 175%. For reference, Loblaw’s Q2 2020 online sales grew 280% year-over-year, to hit $895 million in revenue.

As the pandemic continues to shift consumer shopping habits, more and more Canadians are buying groceries online, which could turn into a long-term happen after the virus has passed. 

Another boost to Loblaw’s online sales? The Shoppers Drug Mart online store. Shoppers, a pharmacy and beauty supply chain, was acquired by Loblaw in 2017. Earlier this year, the company unveiled a new-and-improved online shop and mobile app, making it easier to buy online and earn rewards.  

“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated certain longer-term trends, enabling the Company to advance its strategic growth areas of Everyday Digital, Connected Healthcare, and Payments and Rewards,” a Loblaw spokesperson wrote. “The Company’s investments in its Everyday Digital platforms enable it to offer Canadians a choice of shopping in-store or online with either home delivery or convenient pickup locations.”

With healthcare at the forefront now more than ever, Loblaw launched a health app this year, called PC Health, which provides Canadians access to nurses, dieticians, and mental health professionals for healthcare advice. The app helps users track health-related goals and earn points for achieving them.

Loblaw also invested $75 million in Maple, a company that connects patients with doctors via virtual telehealth solutions. The program is now available in over 160 Shoppers Drug Mart stores. 

This past spring, Loblaw enlisted Google Cloud to help manage the uptick in online orders and automated fulfillment. 

Said Sharon Lansing, VP of online grocery, “During this time, it was critical that our teams were able to find ways to better serve our customers and ensure that we were able to deliver that service quickly.” 

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