Using 3rd Party Platforms to Boost Your Own E-commerce Site: Webinar Key Takeaways

October 20, 2020

Jim Dudlicek, NGA Director of Communications and External Affairs

With the explosive growth in online grocery resulting from COVID-19, grocers have been rethinking their e-commerce strategies to accommodate this surge in business.

Third-party platforms are a handy way execute an omnichannel strategy, but should they be a standalone solution?

Having an e-commerce solution under your own banner instead of just participating in a marketplace with other grocers in your area doesn’t have to break the bank or disrupt your relationship with a third-party platform.

NGA and e-commerce solution provider Locai Solutions recently hosted a webinar that explained what it takes to operate an e-commerce business under your own banner; the benefits to your business in terms of shopper loyalty, brand Identity and financial performance; and how your own e-commerce operation can work side by side with a third-party marketplace to meet your customers wherever they may be shopping online.

Joining Locai founders Mike Demko and Scott DeGraeve was Matt Idstein, director of e-commerce at Angelo Caputo’s Fresh Markets in suburban Chicago, who shared his first-hand experience.

Here are some key takeaways from their discussion:

You can have it both ways: Owning your own brand doesn’t mean giving up Instacart or other third-party services. Focus your brand on your most loyal customers and reward them for their loyalty. Not owning your own brand could mean lost loyalty and sales. Instacart can be an acquisition channel for your brand, given their broader reach. Let Instacart service 2-hour order cutoffs while you deliver in 4 to 6 hours and gain operating efficiency.

Control your brand at every touch point: Be able to optimize the entire customer journey to maximize customer satisfaction, your revenue and your profits, from SEO to the shopping experience to pickup or home delivery.

Leverage your customer data: With your own e-commerce platform, you get to own your customer data. Use online data in your loyalty program to reward customers who shop with you directly online and in store. Owning your brand online enables you to holistically manage your customers across channels. Your online data is also valuable in managing your CPG and supplier relationships.

Marketing matters: Deliver consistent branding and messaging across all channels, digital and in store. Strong content is key to good organic search results. Target your campaigns geographically, demographically and seasonally.

Tell your story: Promote the unique aspects of your brand; make sure your e-commerce platform lets you easily emphasize those differences. Use videos, images and words that directly tie into your services and merchandising, which is an opportunity to differentiate using your assortment. It’s also key to managing your margins. Promote your private label; customers associate everything they purchase from you with your brand. The quality of your inventory reflects directly on your brand image.

A positive brand experience includes operations: Other benefits of owning your brand include flexibility in managing the service mix based on what’s best for your customers and your store operations. Control product quality and substitutions when fulfilling orders. Better manage out-of-stocks performance by knowing order details ahead of time.

Pick the right partner: Choose an e-commerce platform provider with the tools and capabilities that enable you to easily tell your brand story through content, merchandising and services. Cookie-cutter template solutions won’t enable you to differentiate your brand or scale. Find a provider that treats you like a partner, one that will cost-effectively grow with you, end to end. Personalization creates value and convenience; be sure to choose a platform that supports it.

To view this complete webinar and others in the series, visit