Online grocery shopping is not a new concept. It’s been tried and many have failed, but as with everything, it’s all about timing. Stores like Wegmans are seeing early success on their second trial because of advances in technology and personalization. Tying personal shopper to the online buying process has been one way Wegmans has been able to satisfy moms who want thin asparagus versus just an order of asparagus.
All said and done, online grocery shopping is small — only about four percent of total U.S. grocery business. But a Booz & Company research report says that 54% of grocery customers have bought at least one item online, indicating that widespread adoption is right around the corner.
Moms are tired of pushing carts with babies and children in tow. And if the delivery is free, it saves her monthly household gas budget. According to a 2014 Yahoo mom study, moms are busy trying to fit a 30-hour day into 24 hours, making online grocery shopping a must-have try convenience even if she is just ordering online and going through the drive-through for pick up.
Online grocery shopping is poised to explode. Amazon and Google are now getting into the mix. Every day I come home to see Google Express packages being logged in by the doorman. And Amazon Fresh with its excellent delivery and great prices will be big contender.
Grid Dynamics conducted a study of over 100 leading grocery stores in the U.S., Europe, Canada and Australia. I spoke to Grid’s client partner, Rahul Bindlish, who believes the key to success will be delivering a great experience for moms through personalization and convenience features, not just groceries alone.
“Consumers want an intuitive user experience, giving them the flexibility to shop and consume grocery-related content anytime, anywhere on their preferred medium. At the same time, grocers gain a 360-degree real-time view of customer behavior allowing them to create targeted marketing and personalized promotions to drive customer behavior and maximize returns,” replied Rahul.
In addition, Rahul believes online grocery platforms will need to think beyond
first-generation grocery delivery options. For example, he expressed the importance of letting consumers opt for in-store or home delivery; view nutritional and brand information; create and write
reviews; add ingredients to their cart directly from recipes and cooking-related content; save, manage and share shopping lists; create custom orders (from the bakery, for example); and manage loyalty
cards and points.
But to make the online grocery experience really stick with moms, Rahul had a couple of other tips to share:
Give her options. “Let’s say she goes online because she has a party for 20 and a budget of $300. She wants options. She wants a mobile app that allows her to pick and choose what she wants to have on the menu, identifies the ingredients and creates a shopping list for her. From there she can choose to buy online and pick everything up at the store or have the items shipped.”
She wants convenience. If a mom creates a shopping list online, serve up coupons based on her list making it easy and eliminating the need to clip coupons. Majority of households have the same items on their shopping lists from week to week. Stores need to build features that capture regular purchases. And she wants one-stop shopping for managing and budgeting, track expenses and rewards. Digital receipts make it easy for her to track expenses.
She wants easily accessible information. Moms have high expectations for food information beyond the ingredients and health information. She’s looking for organic food, ethnic, local food.
The future is bright for online grocery shopping. The US Grocery industry is on the crossroads of a major shift. It’s just a question of time when your favorite grocery store will offer the convenience of shopping anytime, anywhere using your favorite medium.