Online grocer Farmstead has introduced Smart Shopping List, a feature that goes beyond recommendations to actually predict what customers need based on multiple data-driven factors, among them weekly shopping history, buying signals and what’s already in their cart.
“One of the biggest challenges to buying groceries online is to build your shopping cart rapidly,” said Pradeep Elankumaran, co-founder and CEO of San Francisco-based Farmstead. “Since there are no physical aisles to walk through like a traditional supermarket, and only so much scrolling one can take, it’s a true challenge to help customers find the right products at the right time while also suggesting new ones they’ll love in the few minutes they spend each week tapping buttons online.”
To address this challenge, Smart Shopping List dynamically generates an endless list of heavily personalized products that customers can scroll through. These products are ranked by machine-learning algorithms based on past shopping behavior and wellness preferences, along with the collective behavior of other shoppers who purchase similar products. Farmstead users can now put their orders together much faster, because these models are helping them.
While other online grocers can make recommendations based on purchase history or brand sponsorships, they can’t algorithmically consider more complex factors, including day of the week and seasonality, compatible products, and also programmatically surface seasonal products.
By contrast, Smart Shopping List grows smarter and more personalized every time a customer uses it. Early testing found that more than 40 percent of customers ordered via Smart Shopping List when given the option, and when they did, they were 3.5 times more likely to add suggested items to their list – showing that the suggestions were accurate and timely.
The feature is now available to existing Farmstead customers. New customers will receive the option after they’ve placed their first order, giving the software the opportunity to learn their unique preferences.
Farmstead also recently rolled out Refill & Save, a program that enables customers to set up weekly subscriptions for staple items, while also making grocery delivery less expensive than going to the supermarket. Along with those weekly subscriptions, Smart Shopping List helps make assembling an online grocery list faster and easier.
“It’s features like Refill & Save and Smart Shopping List that will make online grocery buying less overwhelming and more appealing to the average family,” asserted Elankumaran. “Right now, online grocery represents only about 8 percent of overall grocery buying. We think that number will double by the end of 2019. The more convenient and less expensive we can make it, the better for the vast majority of mid-market shoppers who are tentatively exploring online options.