How to Evolve Customer Expectations in Grocery Retail?

Like every other industry on the planet, the grocery industry is in continuous evolution. Retailers are trying new and convenient ways to meet the demands of their customers, and as we all know, today’s customer is more demanding than ever. Every day, more and more consumers want what is more comfortable and attainable for them. That way is, of course, a more convenient online shopping experience.

The grocery market was one of the last retail players to branch out and join the online game, and that was the right move. But since the giants like Amazon and Walmart are trying everything they can to make people get used to the digital grocery shopping idea, the digital transformation is inevitable. When you add COVID-19’s massive effect on people’s grocery shopping behaviour, today every grocer – big or small – is at a crossroads. According to Coresight’s May 2020 report, 49% of US citizens have stated that they have started buying their groceries online due to COVID-19.*

Source: Coresight Research

Source: Coresight Research

As we are all aware, once you go online, there’s no coming back, even in grocery shopping where people prefer to include their senses to the process. It’s fair to expect a drop in the online shoppers’ percentage, but it’s never going to be lower than before COVID-19. Food Marketing Institute states that 20% of grocery shopping could be online by 2025.** So yes, it’s apparent that the market is moving towards digital, but the stores aren’t going anywhere soon; they are evolving as well. In order to survive this hybrid age of digital and conventional, grocers need agility more than ever, and we have the best solutions. In this article, we are going to reveal the trends in the grocery retail industry and show the ways you can evolve customer expectations in the digital age.

The future of physical stores: Self-checkout

Especially in the megastore chains, self-checkout has long been an option for the customers who like speedy shopping. For a couple of years, some of the grocery stores have been taking a more aggressive approach by going completely cashier-less. It may sound futuristic, but we are already there. For example, 7FRESH, a Beijing-based grocery store, has been testing checkouts with face recognition, and it looks like it’s working.*** When you think about the savings on the workforce, it’s a system that’s going to pay for itself in the long run.

Another trend that’s been rising in the online grocery approach is using stores as showrooms. Another example from China’s Alibaba, Hema market, is experimenting with inventory-free stores that focus on the customer experience from a different approach. In the stores, they showcase cooking demos to show what people can do with their products. That’s another example of giving the customers’ a unified experience, and it fits the concept of the future perfectly.

Data is still what matters most

To build a seamlessly working digital grocery platform, grocers need to stop ignoring the value of customer data. Grocery companies, big or small, have been using their loyalty programs to gather insights on their shopper profiles, but in today’s world, that is not enough. Personalisation is the key, as well as offering personalised offers & campaigns to your customers. Analysing data the old way is no longer enough to keep up with today’s standards. With a unified digital platform like Ubimecs, you don’t need to worry about data analysis since the platform has various tools that can do it for you. The best thing is, it can create automated personalised offers to every one of your customers.

Our platform’s data analysis tools also help a lot with the online presence of our partners. With the right segmentation, you can even make A/B tests that will provide fail-proof marketing strategies. In short, with enough data, the sky is the limit.

What makes shoppers decide: Customer reviews

The biggest reason why people have been so late to adapt to online grocery shopping is that they want to see and feel what they are buying. Morgan Stanley’s 2016 survey shows that 84% of grocery shoppers prefer seeing and choosing their groceries. The more surprising thing is, the results didn’t change a year later when the same question was asked.

However, as we are moving forward, more and more customers want to benefit from the convenient way of online grocery shopping. And to gain their trust, there is a straightforward idea: user reviews and ratings on product pages. With Ubimecs Grocery Module, you can effortlessly add product details which include ratings to earn the confidence and reassure your customers on your online shopping platform.

Source: Morgan Stanley Research

Source: Morgan Stanley Research

The next step for retailers: Innovation into Omnichannel

Offering your customers omnichannel shopping experience is a must, but what you understand from the word “omnichannel” is the real deal here. Giving your customers the opportunity of shopping from whichever platform they want to is the first thing you should do, but according to McKinsey’s post-COVID-19 report****, grocers need to do more. Yes, people want to shop online, but they want to feel the conventional in-store feeling as well. The most reasonable way is therefore providing your customers that feeling via your online platforms. To offer an omnichannel experience, you can offer your customers fast checkout and click & collect options. Additionally, you can redesign your online experience without putting in neither too much effort or workforce, since our module offers to make quick changes without the requirement to put on a new version of the app.

Ubimecs Grocery Module offers a unified online retail platform which you can effortlessly customize on every channel. Our module also offers 3rd party delivery integrations, loyalty programs, and more. For further information, you can book a meeting with an Ubimecs expert to learn more about our module.