When was the last time you went to a store to buy music? Or went inside a bank to manage your money?
It’s probably been a while. Could visiting your neighborhood supermarket to do your food shopping be the next activity to become just as quaint?
Two new reports say online grocery shopping is rapidly becoming the norm. And as shoppers become more comfortable with the concept, they aren’t as likely to want to pay a premium for it. So grocery retailers had better adjust – and make their online offerings accessible and affordable – or they risk being left behind.
The first report, “The Digitally Engaged Food Shopper” by the Food Marketing Institute and Nielsen, calls online grocery shopping “a little thing. But it’s about to make a big difference.”
The report says 23% of American households are already buying at least some of their groceries online today. And that percentage is projected to grow rapidly: 72% of shoppers surveyed said they expect to buy groceries online in the future. The report predicts that shopping for food online will become mainstream – just like buying books or music online – within a decade.
When it comes to what prompts would-be online grocery shoppers to take the plunge, the FMI/Nielsen report identifies a complex set of consumer needs. Online grocery providers must deliver items on time and undamaged. Value and ease of use are key. And shoppers want a good assortment, personalized offers and a convenient experience.
The second report, the “2017 Grocery eCommerce Forecast” by Unata and Brick Meets Click, has a slightly less complex list of consumer needs – online grocery shoppers want deals!
According to that report, 19% of shoppers have bought groceries online, and 31% say they are likely to do so in the coming year.
But some tried it once, and never again. Half of all shoppers who never made a second online grocery order said it was because they couldn’t find the products they were looking for. And 45% said it was because they couldn’t find as many deals online as in the store. Overall, 29% of shoppers said they would like to be able to browse and clip digital coupons when placing online orders.
It’s a phenomenon that report co-author Brick Meets Click has noted before – shoppers would be more likely to buy groceries online, if they could use coupons and get more deals.
“Allow your shoppers to easily find, clip and redeem coupons related to products they are already buying or are likely to buy while they shop online with you,” the report advises retailers.
Shoppers are also more likely to try out online grocery shopping if offers are personalized, and delivery is fast and affordable.
“We’ve known for a long time that shoppers wanted to do some grocery shopping from home,” said Brick Meets Click’s Chief Architect Bill Bishop, “and now we have more specifics on what else they’re looking for from that experience. Now’s the time to get on this.”
All of this is not to suggest that your neighborhood grocery store is going to become obsolete, the FMI and Nielsen researchers say. While packaged goods and household products are migrating online, shoppers are less sure about buying fresh food sight unseen. So online grocery shopping is likely to supplement rather than replace physical stores.
Still, times are changing, and both reports urge retailers to get with the times and give shoppers what they want. And if coupons and personalized deals allow you to save time and save money at the same time, maybe you’ll be among those buying more of your groceries online in the new year, too.
Image source: Shipt
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