Shoppers Desire Self-Checkout Most in Grocery Technology, But Omnichannel Remains the Goal

Shoppers Desire Self-Checkout Most in Grocery Technology, But Omnichannel Remains the Goal

While grocery ecommerce is poised to boom in the coming years, today's shoppers are more interested in new technologies that enhance and ease the in-store experience over its online counterpart.

That's according to "Regional Grocery: New Digital Pathways to Convenience, Value and Margin Growth," a new white paper from Mercatus. After polling grocery shoppers in 2018, the Toronto-based provider of digital solutions for grocery found self-checkout to be the king of convenience among the most-desired grocery technologies. Self-checkout is already in wide use, and shoppers already understand the convenience it provides – and the friction added when shopping a store without it.

But following far behind self-checkout are two technologies that ease friction via personal mobile devices: "compare shopping prices from mobile devices while in store" (21 percent) and "build mobile-friendly shopping lists from grocer's website" (18 percent), the white paper noted. Coming in next is "use electronic in-store product finder" (15 percent). The numbers aren't high, but given the growth in frictionless commerce, they're likely only to grow.

Ultimately, however, that's not to say people are far more interested in most in-store technologies over online ones: trailing choices include "grocery shop online" (14 percent), "order online and pick up at the grocery store" (14 percent), "order online and have it delivered to car" (13 percent), and "order online and have it delivered to home" (11 percent), all of which didn't fall too far behind. Also trailing are "build a shopping list that knows when to reorder" (8 percent) and "order online and pick up at a predetermined location" (6 percent).

It's true that there remains a somewhat stronger interest in enhancing the in-store experience. But the fact that technologies to create and enhance the ecommerce experience follow not too far behind suggests that what grocery shoppers ultimately want overall is a true omnichannel experience that gives, more than anything else, the ability to choose the best way for them to purchase groceries – and does so frictionlessly.

When looking specifically at online grocery shoppers, however, the online technologies go from appearing of somewhat lesser interest to stronger interest, the white paper claimed.

"When we looked at services like personalized flyers, pickup and delivery, the percentage appeal doubled for online shoppers," the report noted. "Filtering further on these by Millennials, over half want these services. Demand for digital convenience is here and growing."

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