How can grocers improve their digital experiences?
According to a new Deloitte survey, only 31 percent of grocery shoppers indicate that digital makes grocery shopping easier versus 42 percent across other retail categories.
The poor scores for grocery arrive as digital’s influence on the channel has spiked in the last year, according to the study. Fifty-one percent of grocery sales are now digitally-influenced, up from 33 percent the prior year. That puts digital’s influence just behind apparel (56 percent) and home (58 percent). Electronics is at 69 percent.
Deloitte found that digital now permeates the grocery path to purchase:
- Seventy-seven percent of those surveyed use digital touchpoints such as recipe websites and blogs to drive awareness and find inspiration.
- Eighty percent have used a digital device to browse or research grocery products, tapping sources like manufacturer and grocery retailer websites.
- Twenty-nine percent tried products based on online recommendations and reviews, seeking answers from blogs and social media posts alongside online product reviews and loyalty apps.
Focusing on ingredients represents one path for grocers seeking deeper digital engagement with their customers. With the increased emphasis on health/wellness and on preparing meals at home (cited by 45 percent of consumers as something they enjoy), ingredients rated as high as value in importance as a brand purchase driver.
Other opportunities lie in-store. While 90 percent of surveyed consumers consider a set of brands prior to arriving at the point of sale (POS), more than 50 percent make the brand purchase decision at the POS. Thirty-four percent use a smartphone to help choose a brand during a shopping trip.
The top digital touchpoints for product and brand research used by consumers were store circulars/weeklies (59 percent) followed by the grocery retailer website (52 percent) and retailer app (41 percent).
With only 27 percent of respondents using a consumer product company’s app for product and brand research, the study authors see an untapped opportunity for vendors to partner with retailers and to be more responsive to two-way engagement and delivering personalized products and experiences to consumers. Wrote Deloitte in its report, “Timelines are compressed in a digital-first world.”
- Grocery Reaches the Digital Tipping Point With the Majority of Sales Now Influenced by Digital Along the Path to Purchase – Deloitte
- The grocery digital divide – Deloitte
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How is digital discovery and research different for grocery shopping versus in other retail channels? What are some obvious and less obvious winning strategies for food retailers and vendors in the digital, omnichannel marketplace?