They want it to be easy to find products, personalized offers, coupons, weekly online circulars and fast delivery options.

Chris Bryson, CEO and founder, Unata

Chris Bryson, CEO and founder, Unata

Traditionally, people have chosen their supermarket according to location, shopping at the store closest to where they live or work.

However, with an abundance of new grocery delivery options available today, like Amazon Fresh, Walmart.com, Instacart or delivery direct from their local supermarket, location has become much less critical.

What, then, emerges as the new differentiating factor for where these shoppers choose to shop?

The experience. Both in-store and online. Traditional discount supermarkets like Walmart and Aldi are recognizing the importance of “experience,” with Walmart introducing in-store benefits like “endless aisle” and Aldi improving their in-store aesthetics and product selection.

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According to Unata’s 2017 Grocery e-commerce Forecast, 68% of online grocery shoppers would switch supermarkets for a better digital experience—one that is quick, easy, convenient, enjoyable, and essentially saves the shopper time.

So, how exactly can grocery retailers make their e-commerce experience better?

To help guide you, we asked 500 U.S. consumers what they value most (and expect!) from a digital grocery experience in 2017. Here are the top 5 things we heard:

1) Easy-to-find Products

In 2016, 50% of all shoppers who never made a second online grocery order said it was because they couldn’t easily find the products they were looking for.

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Browsing tens of thousands of products online can be daunting to your shoppers, and not being able to quickly find items can cause them to give up. In order to avoid this, you need to design your e-commerce experience so that the shopper is always a single click away from the major features and sections that they are most likely to use, and a couple of clicks away (aim for 2 clicks max) from the products they love.

Design your e-commerce experience so that the shopper is always a single click away from the major features and sections they are most likely to use.

2) Personalized Offers and Sales

1 in 3 said they would switch grocers for personalized offers based on what they buy, and 1 in 5 said they would switch grocers for a personalized version of the weekly ad.

Your shoppers want an experience that feels tailored to them and that helps them save money on the products they’re already buying. Use 1-to-1 personalization technology to serve up specials and offers that are relevant to each shopper. Make sure the weekly ad is also personalized so that shoppers can easily find the promotions and offers relevant to them without having to sift through hundreds of specials.

3) A Digital Weekly Ad

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30% of shoppers said they would enjoy viewing the weekly ad online in 2017.

Shopper interactions and expectations are different online, and your weekly ad needs to reflect that. Rather than just providing a PDF of your print version, design your weekly ad to capitalize on all that digital has to offer—personalization, omnichannel support, measurability and interactivity—and ensure it can support all of your most exciting content like multi-step offers, videos, recipes, collections and more. Connect it to your e-commerce experience so that shoppers can easily take advantage of savings via an online order.

4) Digital Coupons

29% of shoppers said they would enjoy browsing and clipping digital coupons online in 2017.

Your shoppers love coupons! Make it easy for them to find them online on the products they’re already considering buying. You can do this by embedding digital coupons into your e-commerce site and e-circular, which is linked to the product catalogue, so that shoppers can easily find, clip and redeem coupons where they are already shopping. For example, your product pages should have related coupons that the shopper can clip, and your coupon pages should have related products that they can add directly to their cart. It should feel like one, seamless shopping experience—just the way it does in-store.

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5) “Fast Food”!

25% of shoppers said they would switch grocers for 1-day delivery and 24% said they would switch grocers for same day delivery.

Offering delivery to complement your Click & Collect solution can unlock new consumers and growth. Kroger recently announced a partnership with Uber where customers can order through their ClickList and have their groceries delivered by a local Uber driver. Whether it’s Uber or Lyft or a similar service, this type of asset-light solution is a great way for grocers to offer fast delivery in an affordable way, rather than investing years into a delivery solution or owning your own fleet.

Experience matters more than you think, especially now that your shoppers have more options than ever before. A great digital experience means making it very easy for your shoppers to find products, offers, coupons and deals, and then making it even easier to get their groceries delivered quickly. If you can conquer this, you can easily go head-to-head with large national and pure-play e-grocery competitors, winning based on the quality of your experience.

Unata provides digital technology to grocery retailers.

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