A Drop-Off in Pickup: New Research

Survey reveals majority of consumers want to choose groceries in person
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
A Drop-Off in Pickup: New Research
A new study shows that the pace of online ordering and store pickup is slowing.

It’s not quite a 180-degree flip, but consumers are making yet another pivot in the way they buy groceries in the almost-aftermath of the pandemic, new research finds. A survey from ChaseDesign shows that about half of grocery shoppers turned to online ordering for store pickup during lockdowns and restrictions, but only about half of those consumers will continue to shop that way in the future.

The reasons for the change in behavior stem from consumers’ desire to choose items for their own baskets and their varying perceptions of in-store pickup. According to ChaseDesign’s survey, 54% of shoppers prefer to pick things out in person and 40% want to shop in a brick-and-mortar store. In-person shopping is seen as especially important in fresh foods and perishables, with nearly half of shoppers saying they won’t buy meat or seafood online for pickup and 40% indicating that they avoid dairy, produce and frozen products. Additionally more than a third (35%) say they won’t order deli or bakery via e-commerce for store pick-up.

In addition to wanting control over their purchases, these shoppers also voiced some frustrations with the experience of buying online and picking up in store, citing issues like limited product availability, missing items or wait times. For example, 40% of respondents said they had waited 10 minutes or more for their orders.

With an overwhelming 90% of shoppers saying they still go into the store when picking up their order, grocers can use the opportunity to welcome them back to in-store shopping. “Retailers devoted most of their resources during the last 15 months on accommodating shoppers who wanted to avoid the store for safety reasons by upgrading their digital presence and installing new systems for store pickup and delivery. As those shoppers return to physical stores in droves, and as restaurants start competing for more of the food dollar, successful retailers will turn their attention to making their real estate more engaging than ever before,” said Joe Lampertius, president of ChaseDesign.

The Skaneateles, N.Y.-based design agency also found that communication is key when retailers interact with their customers, wherever they may browse and buy. The survey confirms that shoppers have become “highly reliant” on retailer apps for both a better in-store and online ordering/pickup experience.

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