The Key to Driving Online Grocery Adoption
Online grocery sales are predicted to capture 20 percent of total grocery retail by 2025 to reach $100 billion in consumer sales, according to a study by theand conducted by Nielsen. E-commerce grocery options are certainly expanding as major players like Amazon.com, Walmart, Kroger and more introduce new initiatives that move the needle towards greater customer adoption. However, many retailers may still be concerned about how to drive adoption, especially with these enterprise brands trying to corner the market.
The key lies in specific personalization tactics throughout the e-commerce grocery experience. These tactics include a calculated combination of omnichannel excellence, data-powered personalization, and wider fulfillment options to convince shoppers online grocery is as effective and attractive as traditional brick-and-mortar.
While e-commerce offers retailers unique personalization opportunities not awarded by the physical store, e-commerce on its own will not turn business. An integrated online and offline strategy is necessary to ensure that the customer is relevant in every aspect of the grocery experience.
To create an on-brand multichannel experience, grocers must leverage their digital assets to synchronize physical and digital customer experiences by using consistent imagery, language and tone across all promotional and sales channels. This, coupled with honoring all promotions and coupons offered in-store, will enable grocers to go beyond sporadically selling products in various channels and build a multifaceted customer relationship that develops across the entire shopping journey.
A complete online selection is also essential to avoid shopper abandonment and frustration. Complete in-store inventory should be offered online and, if anything, the ability to shop online should provide new possibilities to expand the range of items available for sale, creating an endless aisle; upsell and cross-sell opportunities; and attracting more shoppers.
Shoppers expect retailers to demonstrate a deeper level of brand–customer engagement that takes their personal wants and needs into account. This requires a depth of understanding of individual attitudes, affinities, motivations, behaviors and patterns that’s derived from customer data collected in real time and connected to a platform that makes dynamic assessment and analysis possible at scale.
The good news for today’s retailers is that,, consumers are more willing than ever before to provide personal information if it leads to a more personalized and relevant buyer journey.
Better Fulfillment and Delivery Options
Grocers must implement a unified e-commerce fulfillment process that encompasses all products and services offered in-store, with added convenience to customers and the store associates assisting them. Failure to do so results in disappointing shopper experiences, online ordering hesitation and, inevitably, lost sales.
It’s clear that shoppers will streamline purchases through e-commerce sites that offer the best possible delivery options. Today, this means enhanced delivery and click-and-collect options to create the most convenient experience for every customer. But it’s not enough to focus on delivery speed; you also need to ensure the sustainability and scalability of your fulfillment processes.
Addressing certain customer pain points surrounding fulfillment will greatly increase shoppers’ appreciation of online options. The inability to choose and change delivery times to meet shoppers’ needs is one that ranks high. The same is true for changing orders — i.e., adding or deleting items — in progress or nearing delivery. To customers used to ordering, changing and purchasing items at the touch of a button on other e-commerce sites, difficulties in making what feels to shoppers like minor changes can be frustrating.
As online grocery becomes more prevalent, it’s essential for grocers to take calculated, forward-thinking steps in order to drive adoption rates. A failure to do so will threaten the future of a grocer’s business as the industry continues to evolve with enhanced omnichannel experiences and fulfillment options.
Sylvain Perrier is the president and CEO of Mercatus, a company that helps grocers create seamless multichannel experiences for online shoppers.
Related story: Prime Day Spotlights Grocers’ ‘New Normal’
Sylvain Perrier is a dynamic, articulate retail industry thought leader and highly accomplished President & Chief Executive Officer of Mercatus Technologies Inc., who is driving the success of many large retailers using pragmatic easy-to-use technology. Highly charismatic and influential with over ten years of executive-level experience in retail technology, pushing the boundaries in specialty areas such as mobile devices, web technology, in-store solutions, and Software as a Service (SaaS) architectures. Sylvain is listed as the lead inventor on more than 75 granted intellectual property patents in over 15 different legal jurisdictions for more than 10 distinct inventions.