SNAP EBT online purchasing is about to explode
Ever since the first COVID lockdown in 2019, more and more people have started to do their regular shopping online. As everyone started avoiding grocery stores, the USDA began working towards a long-standing goal of accepting SNAP online purchases.
In 2017, a group of retailers who would pilot the SNAP online program was selected, but it wasn’t until the April of 2019 that internet sales would become available to everyone. In 2019 there was a survey where it was shown that 51% of SNAP recipients chose to purchase groceries online if given that option.
It is still unclear why it took so long for SNAP purchases to be accepted online, but everything quickly changed in 2020 when SNAP online purchasing grew 6,900%. Today, many states are approved to accept online SNAP benefits, making life easier for everyone.
Social distancing and online shopping
The main reason most people opt for online shopping instead of going to a physical store is social distancing. Of course, online shopping has been popular for quite some time, but since 2019, its popularity has increased drastically.
By allowing low-income individuals to utilize their SNAP benefits online, you are practicing safe social distancing and expanding your customer base. This means that you will get a lot more customers and thus a bigger profit in the long run as a retailer.
SNAP online shopping issues
The only issue with SNAP online shopping is the fact that it is not possible to cover delivery fees with SNAP benefits. Often, retailers that offer online SNAP purchasing will also offer free delivery options to those with a certain number of SNAP-eligible items selected for delivery. But what happens if they select less than what is necessary to get free delivery options? This is still an ongoing issue that is yet to be fully resolved.
SNAP and online spending patterns
Did you know that SNAP dollars represent a significant amount of grocery spending nationally? SNAP households are responsible for an estimated 10% of the food and beverage spending, which is worth approx $55 billion. Not to mention that SNAP households were proven to be more likely to
shop online compared to non-SNAP households. This makes it an important market segment for all grocery retailers.