Apps, Websites Making Grocery Shopping Less Eventful
Using the Web to buy groceries may lag behind online purchasing in industries such as travel and small appliances, but online grocery customers in the U.S. report high levels of satisfaction and strong repeat rates. Many tell us they approach the whole task of shopping for food in a different way when they shop online – each purchase doesn’t have to be an “event” as it does with brick-and-mortar grocery shopping.
A few players have made the online grocery-shopping process easier and more compelling for consumers, through Website capabilities and delivery options, to try to grow the number of U.S. consumers who use an online grocer to deliver their foods and beverages. These efforts may be paying off – our report, The Virtual Grocery Store, shows 7 percent of adult consumers used such a site in a typical month, which roughly equates to 20 million users.
Much of the shift toward online for groceries comes from younger men who increasingly are responsible for grocery shopping. Men now represent more than 40 percent of those who are primarily responsible for acquiring the groceries in their homes. They consistently report grocery shopping as a chore and are more likely to have negative views of the experience compared to women.
As these shopping-averse consumers take on this role there is also evidence that consumers are more interested in the quick trip versus a shopping event to lessen their time in the stores at each trip. If this dynamic holds and grows, it could have a dramatic effect on grocery retail as it could signal a movement away from one-stop shopping. Those who use online grocers shop on average at six different channels compared to three channels for shoppers in general. An online consumer can, for example, use the Internet at work or at home to place a large order, make a quick trip to a grocery store on another day in case something was forgotten or out of stock in the large order, and then make a small trip to a c-store on the weekend. This pattern allows the consumer to limit the amount of time spent in the store during each trip.
Once consumers engage in online shopping there is a great likelihood they will return. More than 70 percent of those who ever tried online grocery shopping were active in recent months. High levels of satisfaction are making them repeat online shoppers. Nearly two-thirds of online grocery shoppers say they were completely satisfied with their last experience.
There is room to grow, however, since most consumers say they have never shopped for groceries online. One of the greatest barriers to converting these consumers is their desire to select their own fresh items; others say delivery fees aren’t worth the convenience.
Food and beverage manufacturers should monitor the quickly changing landscape with respect to grocery delivery services and online retailers to ensure their products are part of the assortment where it matters. Brick-and-mortar retailers also need to adjust to make sure they don’t lose out with younger, tech-savvy consumers. Now is the time to start developing and testing e-commerce programs or expand your current services. For both manufacturers and retailers acting now, while shoppers are experimenting and there is significant growth potential on the horizon, could help you keep up with changing shopping habits and stay ahead of competitors.