Barriers and Facilitators of Online Grocery Services: Perceptions from Rural and Urban Grocery Store Managers

Rachel Gillespie, Emily DeWitt, Angela C.B. Trude, Lindsey Haynes-Maslow, Travis Hudson, Elizabeth Anderson-Steeves, Makenzie Barr, Alison Gustafson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Online grocery shopping has expanded rapidly in the U.S., yet little is known about the retailer’s perceptions of online grocery services, which can aid in the expansion of services. Furthermore, many barriers to online grocery utilization persist across geographic areas, especially among Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)-authorized retailers. This study captured perceived barriers and facilitators of online grocery shopping for managers of SNAP-authorized retailers. Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with managers (n = 23) of grocery stores/supermarkets in urban and rural areas across four different states: TN, KY, NC, and NY. Grocery store managers offering online ordering (n = 15) and managers from brick-and-mortar stores without online services (n = 8) participated in the interviews. Three primary themes emerged among managers offering online ordering: (1) order fulfillment challenges, (2) perceived customer barriers, and (3) perceived customer benefits. Among managers at brick-and-mortar locations without online services, four major themes emerged: (1) thoughts on implementing online shopping, (2) COVID-19 pandemic impacts, (3) competition with other stores, and (4) benefits of maintaining brick-and-mortar shopping. This study provides a deeper understanding of retailers’ experience and perceptions of online grocery services among stores authorized to accept SNAP benefits. This perspective is necessary to inform policies and enhance the evolving virtual food marketplace for SNAP customers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3794
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.


  • SNAP
  • behavior
  • food environment
  • grocery shopping
  • online grocery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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