Like nearly every company across the state, Madison-based GrocerKey has faced significant disruption since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in GrocerKey’s case the disruption came along with accelerated industry growth, and the company has seized the opportunity and scaled up its innovative technology to meet rising demand.

Starting in mid-March, GrocerKey began to see an unprecedented amount of orders streaming into its white-label e-commerce platform and a rapidly growing pipeline of grocers scrambling to speed up their digital transformation.

As the pandemic forced many companies to issue layoff notices, GrocerKey, on the other hand, added more than 300 new e-commerce fulfillment jobs in order to meet the increased demand for curbside pick-up and home delivery services.

COVID-19 disrupts the grocery industry’s disruption

According to McKinsey & Co., online ordering represented just 5% of the grocery industry before the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers’ preference for in-store shopping meant the industry had been slow to adopt digital technology. The pandemic changed all that in an instant.

GrocerKey provides a full suite of digital tools that allow brick-and-mortar grocery stores to enable the online ordering and delivery capabilities they need to compete with industry-disrupting tech giants like Amazon and other services that allow direct online ordering. The company launched in 2014, and thanks to participation in gener8tor’s business accelerator and WEDC’s Qualified New Business Venture Program, has been able to raise more than $6.5 million in funding.

In 2019, GrocerKey reported close to $7 million in revenue for the year. The company has already seen year-over-year revenue increase 85% in the second quarter of this year, putting it on track to make an estimated $12 million in 2020.

Looking beyond the pandemic

GrocerKey’s order volume has tapered off since May and the end of the Safer at Home order, but traffic continues to be strong, indicating that people have become more comfortable with online ordering and it may become a part of regular life instead of a crisis option.

As GrocerKey integrates the growth resulting from recent events, the company is exploring new opporutunities to further evolve and innovate. In June, the company announced a partnership with wellness data and analytics company SPINS. By integrating a comprehensive set of health, wellness and sustainability information, and the ability to search products by diet, health conditions, preferences or foods to avoid, the SPINS integration will allow GrocerKey’s retail partners to offer a richer, more personalized shopping experience for customers.