Are apps and voice assistants the keys to e-grocery adoption?
A study from Bain & Co. finds voice assistants and grocery apps remain two under-utilized tools that could help break shoppers’ “analog” habits such as written lists that are holding back adoption of online grocery.
The research finds that grocery planning remains paper-based. According to a Bain and Google survey of more than 8,000 U.S. consumers, 52 percent use physical, handwritten lists to plan a grocery trip.
Shoppers who have not shopped online in the past 12 months said building a shopping list and having ways to compare prices are the two features they would value most from an online grocery retailer. Receiving personalized recommendations and substitution algorithms ranked lower.
The study further found that, although list building, sharing and research should be easier online, the browsing and shopping phase for grocery can be frustrating. Bain wrote that finding groceries via a web browser “can be a challenge — irrelevant search results, unhelpful product recommendations and limited filtering options increase the time required to fill a basket.”
Voice assistants remain at an early point on the adoption curve as only four percent of grocery shoppers said they use them on dedicated devices. Adopters, however are using them frequently — two-thirds of those using voice assistants use the tool weekly or more frequently for grocery planning.
Grocery apps at the same time can help shoppers research prices and digitalize their list building. Shoppers can also easily browse, share, store and redeem digital coupons, both in stores and online.
Bain said the online grocery experience has to catch up to the inspiration, education and price-comparison ease available with in-store shopping.
“Make shoppers’ lives easier by helping them move historically offline tasks such as couponing, list making, price comparisons and recipe searches to digital. Then embrace these digital sources and tools to reach consumers with the right marketing message exactly when they are making critical buying decisions,” Bain advised.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will apps and voice assistants play a large role in elevating the online grocery experience in the years to come? In what other ways can the planning and browsing phase for groceries be improved online?