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H-E-B, Publix, Aldi Best in E-Commerce Experience

Wave 3 of Ipsos study finds regional brands outperforming large grocery chains in this arena
H-E-B, Publix, Aldi Best in E-Commerce Experience Ipsos
Even as the pandemic recedes, 69% of Americans surveyed by Ipsos said that they expect to continue using e-commerce options at the same levels, if not higher.

According to Wave 3 of global research firm Ipsos’ “E-Commerce Experience Report,” H-E-B, Publix Super Markets and Aldi provide the best e-commerce experience among grocers, the three regional players outperforming large grocery chains in this area. The mystery shopping study ranked nationwide brands on their fulfillment of online orders for pickup.

Ipsos’ report found that 78% of Americans have increased their use of in-store and curbside pickup options since the pandemic began last year. Even as the pandemic recedes, 69% of those surveyed said that they expect to continue using e-commerce options at the same levels, if not higher.

“As we continue to see the adoption and usage of digital offerings rise, it is critical for brands to ensure a seamless and safe end-to-end e-commerce experience to keep customers coming back,” noted Carlos Aragon, VP of Ipsos Channel Performance. “Knowing which brands are leading the pack – and more importantly, why – is critical to succeeding in the e-commerce economy.”

Relying on consumer feedback at 14 grocery chains, Ipsos found the top brands fulfilling online orders through pickup to be as follows:

  • H-E-B led among all grocery stores mainly because of in-stock availability, ability to schedule pickup times and good instructions on order pickup. Excellent accuracy, no fees or minimums, and great communication earned the company the top spot.
  • Publix was a close second, thanks to its ease of ordering and superior communication. Additionally, the grocer excels in order accuracy and contactless handoffs.
  • Aldi also does extremely well in pickup scheduling flexibility, in-stock availability, order accuracy and overall satisfaction.

Meanwhile, among 12 nationwide food and beverage brands Chipotle, Panda Express and Subway ranked highest for online ordering and pickups/drive-thrus.

Ipsos uncovered a few common themes regarding areas where consumers believe that retailers could improve:

  • Ease of ordering: The initial experience of ordering via mobile app or online platform must be seamless and intuitive. Ordering portals that were easy to navigate led to higher scores; platforms that weren’t user-friendly almost always caused complaints.
  • Communication regarding pickup: Lack of clarity on how, when and especially where to pick up an order was among the most frequent complaints. Retailers have to provide clear, concise instructions for pickups and make sure that associates follow them. 
  • Timeliness and accuracy of order fulfillment: These are two of the longest-standing problems with ordering for pickup, predating even online ordering. Customers want to be sure they’re getting what they ordered, and they don’t want to wait a long time for their items. 

Leveraging results from its consumer survey of 2,000 Americans, Ipsos’ Drivers Analysis determined which pickup attributes are table stakes, which are key differentiators and which are unimportant. Then, using data from 100 mystery shops per brand, the company measured how well major brands across the United States are performing on five key performance indicators: user experiences of brands’ online and/or mobile ordering platforms, accuracy of orders and standards of product quality, how wait times were affected by order volumes, whether pickup instructions were followed by associates, and the availability of menu items and inclusion in online orders.

Founded in France in 1975, Paris-based Ipsos is the third-largest market research company in the world, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Privately owned and operated by its more than 200,000 employees, Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix has 1,272 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. The company is No. 11 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. With approximately 400 stores in Texas and Mexico, San Antonio-based H-E-B is No. 13 on The PG 100, while Batavia, Ill.-based Aldi U.S., operating stores across 37 states, is No. 26.

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