Online shopping was growing steadily in popularity pre-pandemic, and quickly went from a nice-to-have amenity to a must-have to compete with other stores. With such severe shopper behavioral changes in the last two and a half years, where are we with online grocery shopping now?
We are now living and shopping in a hybrid world, according to the Food Industry Association (FMI), the trade group representing food retailers and their supply chain partners. In "Navigating A Hybrid World," the most recent release from their expansive, industry-leading U.S Grocery Shopper Trends 2022 series, FMI explores the attitudes and behaviors of the hybrid shopper—consumers who grocery shop both in-store and online—which offers insights for independent retailers to consider in their eCommerce experiences.
“The expanding food retail marketplace has prompted new habits for shoppers who have embraced hybrid options and integrated them into their routines,” FMI reported. “As the research notes, in 2015, only seven percent of shoppers reported ordering groceries online within the previous 30 days. By 2022, half of online food shoppers said they shop online every two weeks or more.”
The Benefits Of Shopping Online
Thanks to its convenience and value, digital shoppers in key demographics are drawn to the online marketplace, which attracts younger shoppers who are more likely to have families and higher incomes than non-online shoppers, said FMI's Senior VP of Communications, Marketing and Consumer/Community Affairs Heather Garlich.
“The blend of in-person and online shopping options available today allow shoppers to mix and match, and [choose] when and where they want to digitize their shopping experience. From swapping digital coupons for paper ones to using automated self-checkout, or even skipping the store entirely,” she said.
FMI learned that 62 percent of online reliant shoppers believe online shopping is better at saving them time than in-person shopping. And 40 percent say online is better than in-person at helping them discover new products, which can be an exciting opportunity for retailers.
Independent Opportunity: Offer click-and-collect services to help shoppers save time by shopping online but filling in their order in-store when they pick it up. Place new products in a display near the click-and-collect section to encourage additional in-store discoveries.
This infographic displays the technological developments in grocery throughout the years that have led to a hybrid world. (Photo courtesy of Business Wire)
The Challenges Of Shopping Online
With all of the convenience provided by online shopping, some experiences simply can’t be mirrored when clicking for groceries.
“The rise and popularity of online ordering has forced shoppers to cede some of the control in terms of that sensory experience and being able to touch and choose items off store shelves themselves,” Garlich said, adding that in-person shopping is associated with better access to information and getting higher quality products.
In fact, nearly half of shoppers (43 percent) believe they get better quality products when they shop in store, as opposed to just 17 percent who believe the same about online shopping. Even those who shop online at least some of the time said that 70 percent of their grocery trips are done in-person.
As Doug Baker, FMI’s VP of industry relations, says, the primary concern for online shoppers is that they often feel someone else will not do as good a job shopping for them. Substitutions also tend to be a pain point for some. However, there are solutions available to give customers a sense of control.
Communication is key to making replacements feel less stressful, such as utilizing chat features with the shopper.
“Additional steps may include ‘assigning’ a hired shopper to learn shoppers’ preferences to guide replacement selection. Such relationship building allows hired shoppers to gain a sense of expertise on the client rather than the product expertise often available in store,” Baker said.
Independent Opportunity: Communicate why your store offers better quality in picking than your competitors. "Picked by your friends and neighbors."
The expansion of hybrid shopping presents retailers with a variety of exciting opportunities to better engage with consumers by improving and streamlining the overall shopping experience both online and in stores.
To read the full report, click here.
No Comments Yet
Let us know what you think