Another Case for the Powerful Potential of Grocery Pickup

New research from Mercatus and Incisiv confirms broad appeal of online ordering and on-site fulfillment
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Another Case for the Powerful Potential of Grocery Pickup
Mercatus released a new report showing that 3 in 4 grocery shoppers prefer store pickup.

If the lines between physical and digital spaces are blurring, a new survey affirms that that consumers don’t want to spend time queuing up in actual lines at the grocery store. According to a report released by digital commerce solutions provider Mercatusconducted in collaboration with Incisiv, a strong majority of online shoppers prefer the BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store) model.

The report, “E-Grocery Transformed: 2021 Market Projections and Insight into Online Grocery’s Elevated Future,” was based on a survey of more than 40,000 consumers across 20 U.S. states. Among other findings, the research shows that 75% of survey participants prefer store pickup. Nearly two-thirds (61%) of American shoppers who buy digitally said they have used curbside pickup at least once in the past year, up from 9% in the 2020 survey. In comparison, there was no increase in the number of shoppers who opt for ship-to-home delivery.

In addition to speed and convenience, shoppers have practical reasons for picking up groceries at the store location. The Mercatus/Incisiv survey respondents said they chiefly want to avoid higher delivery fees and surcharges by going this route.

“Pickup works particularly well for both grocers and their customers in the North American market,” said Sylvain Perrier, president and CEO at Mercatus. “Pickup services offer grocers more control over the cost to serve online customers than third-party delivery. Online customers love the precision, flexibility and overall convenience that store pickup provides. And when done well, pickup services make for a better overall shopping experience that builds lasting connections with customers, which will lead to repeat business for grocers.”

Also of interest to grocers is the finding that shoppers are increasingly using their smart devices when buying groceries. More consumers are planning to use mobile channels to buy online and, even when they are in store, often use a grocer’s app to help them find products and promotions and to check out easier.

Looking ahead to future trends, while shoppers are moving towards on-site pickup and embracing retailers’ mobile apps, the base of online shoppers is diverse and widening. According to the Mercatus/Incisiv report, Black/African-American households reported the highest online usage (54% in 2021) and have the highest average monthly spend, followed in descending order by Hispanic/Latinx, Asian and Caucasian households.

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