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Quality Ecommerce Experience Crucial for Retaining Online Shoppers

It’s good news for ecommerce-ready grocers that more consumers are expected to order groceries online in 2017. However, what many of these retailers might not realize is that the majority of online grocery shoppers show a willingness to switch to the competition if provided with a better e-commerce experience.

According to “2017 Grocery eCommerce Forecast,” a new report made in partnership between Toronto-based digital grocery platform provider Unata and Barrington, Ill.-based retail consultancy Brick Meets Click, one in three (31 percent) U.S. shoppers is willing to purchase groceries online in 2017, up from just one in five (19 percent) the previous year, and four in five (80 percent) who purchased groceries online in 2016 plan to do so again this year. These findings were showcased in a Jan. 31 Brick Meets Click webinar.

But just having an ecommerce option for shoppers doesn’t mean automatic success: Such an option also needs to be intuitive and easy for shoppers to use. Some 68 percent of those who shopped online last year for groceries said that they're “somewhat” or “very” likely to switch grocers if one offers a better online shopping experience – one that’s quick, easy, convenient and enjoyable. Additionally, food retailers run the risk of losing ecommerce shoppers if they don’t even market the service properly to begin with: Of those who didn’t shop for groceries online last year, two in five (41 percent) said that they didn’t even know whether their preferred grocers offered online ordering.

To create and communicate a better ecommerce experience, food retailers should consider:

  1. Offering easy-to-find products and deals
    Half (50 percent) of shoppers in 2016 who never made a second online grocery order said that they didn’t because they couldn’t easily find the products they sought, while 45 percent said that they didn’t because they couldn’t find as many deals online as they could in stores.
  2. Personalizing offers, sales and product suggestions
    One in three (31 percent) shoppers said that they would switch grocers for personalized offers based on what they buy. Additionally, one in five each said that they would do so for a personalized version of the weekly ad (21 percent) or for personalized product suggestions based on preferences (20 percent).
  3. Providing a digital weekly ad
    Almost one-third (30 percent) of shoppers said that they would enjoy viewing the weekly ad online in 2017.
  4. Giving digital coupons
    More than one-quarter (29 percent) of shoppers said that they would enjoy browsing and clipping digital coupons online in 2017.
  5. Having “fast food”
    One-quarter (25 percent) of shoppers said that they would switch grocers for one-day delivery, while about the same (24 percent) said that they would do the same for same-day delivery. The same (24 percent) number said that they're unlikely to shop online in 2017 because they don’t want to wait for their groceries.

“Our annual ‘Grocery eCommerce Forecast’ was created to help our network of retail partners and the industry at large better understand the digital grocery landscape,” said Chris Bryson, Unata founder and CEO. “Given the rapid shopper adoption and appetite to switch for a better online experience, it’s clear that a retailer’s digital experience is quickly becoming the most critical tool for differentiation, retention and, ultimately, growth.”

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