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In recent years, more and more grocery shoppers have discovered the ease and convenience of online grocery shopping. But does that convenience really have to come at a cost? As shoppers get more vocal about what they want from their online grocery provider, they’re also getting more vocal about wanting savings.

The new Grocery Doppio 2023 Digital Maturity Benchmark Report analyzes the online features of more than 150 grocery retailers, together with the results from a survey of 10,000 grocery shoppers, to determine which retailers are best at providing the experience – along with the promotions, deals and coupons – that shoppers are looking for.

Regional grocery chains are ranked best at providing more personalized service, excelling at features like making relevant product substitutions when necessary and offering fast and reliable delivery. But national chains like Albertsons, Kroger, Target and warehouse clubs like BJ’s and Costco are rated best overall in the ease of digital ordering and fulfillment.

And that includes the ease of applying promotions and coupons to an online order.

While some recent surveys have suggested that those who order their groceries online are willing to pay more for the privilege, this survey finds that online grocery shoppers not only want savings, but expect and demand them. Back in 2021, barely over half of survey respondents told Grocery Doppio that they expected to be able to take advantage of promotions and digital coupons when ordering groceries online. That increased to two-thirds of shoppers just one year later, and today, well over three-quarters of shoppers expect easy access to savings opportunities when grocery shopping online.

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Furthermore, the survey found that 75% of grocery shoppers prefer to have coupons pre-applied or proactively suggested, so they don’t have to go hunting for them. The same percentage said they prefer to shop with grocery retailers that offer additional savings via a loyalty program.

The report finds that easy access to coupons, together with a dedicated section for promotions on the homepage of a retailer’s app or website, are now table stakes for online grocery retailers. Nice-to-have features include the ability to provide customized instructions, and membership programs – while coupons and deals are no longer considered a nice-to-have, but a must.

These latest findings further show that online grocery shopping is no longer just for the rich and price-insensitive who don’t care how much it costs for them to avoid a shopping trip to the grocery store. Over the summer, the retail data analytics company 84.51° found that 70% of frequent online grocery shoppers said they’re looking for sales, deals and coupons more often. Earlier in the year, a separate 84.51° survey found that three out of four online grocery shoppers said digital coupons were among their favorite features when filling their online grocery baskets. 62% said they specifically seek out deals, by browsing through available promotions and digital coupons when deciding what to buy.

You might consider it something like the democratization of online grocery shopping – it’s not just for the privileged few anymore, but for the masses. While the growth rate has slowed from its recent surge during the COVID pandemic, online grocery shopping is still gaining in popularity, the Grocery Doppio report noted, as the average number of shopping trips and the average amount spent per trip both continue to grow. Digital sales now make up 12.8% of all grocery shopping, and the report predicts that could reach 16% within the next four years.

These days, for online grocery shoppers, “the decision to purchase is no longer solely about the products being offered,” the Grocery Doppio report concludes. “It is significantly influenced by the quality of engagement and the comprehensive experience a brand provides its customers.” With groceries costing a lot more than they used to, gone are the days when price is no object in exchange for the convenience of being able to order your groceries online. Digital coupons were once as much of a novelty as online grocery shopping itself. Now, for many shoppers, they can’t imagine a time when they ever lived without either – or will ever accept doing so again.

Image source: Walmart

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