The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and boutique digital and omnichannel consultancy FitForCommerce have released what they say is the industry’s inaugural look at how top grocers are meeting customer demands for digital and omnichannel shopping experiences.
Previewed at Groceryshop in September, the Grocery Omnichannel Index benchmarks retailer capabilities in the web, mobile, and in-store channels through the perspective of shoppers.
To create the Index, Short Hills, N.J.-based FitForCommerce conducted mystery shops of 26 retailers’ online, in-store and mobile offerings across the United States, using 175-plus benchmarking criteria. For the more than half of food retailers that manage digital commerce and fulfillment internally, as well as for the 42% that outsource the entire process to a third-party vendor, the report found that convenience, data practices, personalization, content and digital tools, mobile experience and pickup experience are all critical.
“I remember how the term ‘mystery shopper’ would strike fear in our hearts because we perceived we were being judged based on one customer’s experience, but in reality, it was just another day being a retail employee and ensuring you preserved that customer’s trust, met a need and delivered on the store’s promise,” noted Doug Baker, VP, industry relations at Arlington, Va.-based FMI, who was once a food retailer. “This research should not be considered an invasion of privacy, and instead offer an effective way of evaluating the shopper’s digital experience in context with one’s own omnichannel strategy.”
“We arrived at several conclusions that will help retailers better evaluate how the shopper perceives a grocery retailer’s online, mobile and in-store experience,” said FitForCommerce Chief Retail Officer Kathy Kimple. “We recognize that strategic omnichannel priorities look different from company to company based on budget, resources, digital maturity, and so on, but throughout this report, we outline key omnichannel capabilities that should be on every retailer’s roadmap.”