Consumers are buying more groceries online, but many shoppers still see significant obstacles to shifting their food shopping to the web. Here are the main pain points consumers complain about and what online retailers can do to address their concerns about grocery shopping online.

Sourav Mukherjee_CEO_Netscribes

Sourav Mukherjee, CEO, Netscribes

As online grocery shopping gains momentum, the battle for consumer wallet share is growing fiercer. Meeting the evolving expectations of customers has become crucial, given the high benchmarks set by e-commerce giants like Amazon and Walmart.

Competing on price is no longer enough. Brands and retailers need to also deliver a superior omnichannel experience to win over customers. But, when it comes to shopping for groceries online, what do customers expect from retail stores? What typical hurdles in a customer’s online journey can retailers iron out? Netscribes conducted a survey to understand these inhibitors that keep U.S. online grocery shoppers from completing a purchase. Here’s what we found:

What keeps consumers from buying groceries online?

Source: Netscribes report, “What online FMCG consumers want: US consumer survey 2019”

Delivery fees

While convenience is one of the main reasons most consumers shop online, they expect it at no extra cost. High shipping charges can instigate potential buyers to turn to the next ecommerce website that offers free or negligible delivery fees. Both younger consumers 18-25 years old (69%) and Baby Boomers (76%) acknowledge this as a key decision influencer.

When selling to customers online, it’s important to keep stock of products that are high in demand and try to maintain 100% accuracy with inventory.

Quality assurance
Apprehensions about a product’s quality is understandable, especially if the customer is not familiar with the brand. Good quality content, including detailed product information, illustrative graphics and videos, can help mitigate such concerns and create a stronger motivation for customers to purchase a product. Additionally, allowing customers to return products can help build trust and allow your customers to purchase with confidence.

Product unavailability

Minimizing product unavailability is another critical factor for improving the online shopping experience. Most customers understand that products could get sold out due to sudden popularity or a flash sale. However, notifying them the instant a product they want becomes available can help in bringing shoppers back. When selling to customers online, it’s important to keep stock of products that are high in demand and try to maintain 100% accuracy with inventory.

Website/seller credibility

While shoppers may be spoilt for choice, trust is key to triggering most purchases. To win customers’ confidence, a quality shopping website or app is imperative. Providing detailed product information, honest customer reviews, contact details, and a clean and user-friendly interface, are a few ways online grocery retailers can get started in this direction.

 Delivery time

In an age of instant gratification, it’s no surprise that consumers expect speedy deliveries of their purchases. Moreover, customers expect a quick ship for grocery items given their limited shelf life.

E-commerce behemoths like Amazon and Walmart already offer free same-day or next-day deliveries in many locations. As the stakes rise, it has become increasingly important for online brands and retailers to shorten the delivery window.


Apart from these inhibitors, fear of payment fraud, unavailability of doorstep delivery, and customer service were among the other reasons provoking online grocery shoppers to abandon their carts.

As ecommerce continues to grow, brand manufacturers and e-retailers need to keep up with consumer expectations to stay competitive. At the end of the day, consumers expect value for money, a seamless online shopping experience and convenience. Staying attuned to their evolving expectations and market trends will be crucial to surviving and succeeding in the increasingly competitive e-commerce space.

Netscribes is a provider of market intelligence and content management services.