Report Sheds New Light on Omnichannel Shoppers

Acosta research affirms importance of the physical store among online customers
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
a woman smiling for the camera
Digital shopper in store
New insights from Acosta highlight the importance of in-store discovery, even among online shoppers.

Consumers’ hybrid approach to grocery shopping has been the subject of much discussion and data mining over the past couple of years. A new report from Acosta offers fresh insights on the omnichannel, showing that nearly 60% of consumers have bought groceries online over the past two years and most are loyal to their traditional retailer.

That loyalty factor is evident in Acosta’s finding that 57% of online shoppers patronize the same digital and physical store. More online shoppers prefer the in-store experience for discount opportunities and new product discovery.

[Read more: "Digital Grocery Scorecard Shows Peaks and Valleys for July"]

Further underscoring the perennial importance of brick-and-mortar locations, seven in 10 online customers who opt for pickup will go into the store when retrieving their order mainly to get something they forgot or to choose something personally. Such trips present other opportunities to re-engage shoppers, Acosta’s researchers point out.

“Since most online grocery consumers shop the same retailers online and in-store, the brands and retailers that offer strong online and in-store shopping solutions are best positioned to win by nurturing even deeper consumer loyalty. And as wallets tighten due to inflation and shoppers do more pre-shop planning online, an omnichannel focus becomes even more critical,” said John Carroll, chief growth officer at Acosta, a sales and marketing services company based in Jacksonville, Fla.

Carroll also emphasized the need to create a seamless experience while balancing the benefits of digital and physical buying. “More than half of American households are buying groceries online at least occasionally, compelling the need for retailers to provide more personalized and enhanced experiences around value, convenience, and food discovery in order to increase their share of omnichannel shoppers,” he added.

While shoppers are finding a certain groove with online and in-store shopping, Acosta’s report reveals areas for improvement. For example, although grocery retailers get “high marks” for shopper satisfaction, customers are still looking for easier ways to find deals and products and desire reasonable fees for delivery and/or pickup.

In addition, hybrid shopping remains a work in progress for many. Acosta’s research shows that 57% of shoppers use single method of grocery shopping. In addition, more than a quarter of survey respondents said that they do not currently use a retailer’s app to place orders. There is a generational gap as well, with Millennials utilizing at-home delivery at nearly twice the rate of Baby Boomers.

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