While In-Store Rules, Most Would Try Grocery Ecommerce: Report

Consumers have a stronger-in-store preference for groceries than for any other category. However, most would still be willing to purchase groceries online, according to new research from Chicago-based digital marketing agency Walker Sand Communications.

“Reinventing Retail: Four Predictions for 2016 and Beyond” revealed that a whopping 92 percent of consumers prefer to shop in-store for their groceries – compared with 76 percent for household goods, 66 percent for pet supplies and 49 percent for office suppliers, for instance – “a sign that grocers and CPG brands still have a long way to go to establish a viable ecommerce presence.” Yet more than two-thirds would be willing to purchase from a grocer's website (70 percent) or via Amazon.com (68 percent), highlighting an “opportunity for retailers that are able to bring together a hybrid strategy that combines the best of both worlds linked through technology.”

“In-store technology like beacons [has] received a lot of attention over the past few years but [has] been slow to take off,” the report said. “However, the stage seems set for widespread adoption as consumers warm up to the idea and retailers roll out broader programs.”

The report explains that the majority of consumers are open to mobile technology if offered the right incentives. So while more than 60 percent of shoppers aren't currently receptive to push notifications on their mobile devices from retailers or in-store mobile tracking, two-thirds agree that it could improve their in-store shopping experience.

When it comes to location-based smartphone technology to improve the in-store experience, consumers pointed to coupons (52 percent), additional information such as product content and reviews (36 percent), and indoor store mapping showing aisle layouts and product locations (30 percent). Only 33 percent are open to any location-based store technology.

As for beacons, only 6 percent of consumers have used in-store tracking technology through them, but among those who haven't used beacons, only 30 percent agree that they will never opt into their service. However, when asked what would cause them to opt into in-store mobile tracking and push notifications, consumers pointed to discounts (61 percent), loyalty rewards (47 percent) and faster checkout times (34 percent).

But grocers seeking to become more active in ecommerce had best be open with shoppers about safety and not overdo things: Most holding back from opting in cited privacy (64 percent) and security (55 percent) as concerns.

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