Progressive Grocer Independent

OCT 2014

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16 | Progressive Grocer Independent | October 2014 Industry Survey Online Shopping A s technology improves, more consumers are ordering supermarket items online. Some traditional food retail- ers do ofer online shop- ping, but many new players are developing services that will, and in some cases already are, impacting established food-shopping channels, whether picked up at a store, deliv- ered, or selected by a personal shopper through a service like Instacart. Independent retailers defnitely have some advantages to leverage in this growing area. Ofering conve- nient store pickup, assuring shoppers about the quality of items (especially fresh departments), and helping customers with hard-to-fnd items or special requests are just some of the ways independents can use digital grocery services to connect with shoppers. And if competitors ofer online ordering in your area, try them out. You can learn what works or doesn't through your own experimen- tation with their services. At the Produce Marketing As- sociation (PMA) Fresh Connection: Retail Conference this past June, Doug Madenberg and I conducted a session called "Digital Grocery Services — Responding to a Growing Interest by Consumers," in which we discussed the fndings of our new Re- tail Feedback Group study focused on online shopping. Tis study surveyed 446 primary grocery shoppers chosen from shoppers using the ShopWell smartphone app. Te presentation also included practical observations from a consumer panel present at the event. Te study fndings provide valuable insights for retailers planning their own eforts in the rapidly changing world of online shopping or strategiz- ing methods to compete with those that do. Of the shoppers surveyed, 38 per- cent had purchased supermarket items online in the past year. Te availability of hard-to-fnd products (56 percent) and lower prices/better deals than in-store (54 percent) were the two top reasons for doing so. Ranking further down were saving time (44 percent) and greater convenience than shopping in the store (33 percent). Consumers on the live panel at the session rein- forced some of these reasons. "Initially, I was concerned about pricing," one panelist said. "I knew there were some delivery fees attached to it and was wondering if that would negate using the service, because it would be so overpriced that I might as well go to the store anyway … but my lifestyle made me take the leap. Work- ing in the airline industry, I was able to order from [an online shopping] ser- vice while in West Africa and have it sent to the house. Te convenience was more of a factor than price, but initially price was a concern." For those buying online, 58 percent had the products shipped to them — not surprising, since many online specialty retailers only ship products, and buying hard-to-fnd products is the No. 1 reason for shopping online Clicking to Buy Independent retailers offering online shopping have a unique opportunity to build trust with their customers. By Brian Numainville Reason for Purchasing Products Online Reason Percent Hard-to-find products 56 Lower prices/better deals 54 Time savings 44 More convenient 33 Frequency of Purchases Timing of Purchases Percent Once per week 5 A few times per month 8 About once per month 5 Less than once per month 20 Never 62 Plans to Purchase Online in Coming Year Percent About the same 50 More often 33 Less often 17

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