Despite facing a rocky start when it first entered the global retail space, the online grocery segment is set for unprecedented growth over the next few years. According to figures sourced from Statista, the total market value of the online grocery space in Europe is set to hit an amazing £197bn by 2021. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this now makes it one of the most attractive channels for retailers across the continent.
The surge in online grocery shopping in recent years represents a broad shift towards digital technologies within the food sector as the success of companies such as Amazon and Ocado encourages consumers to drop their weekly supermarket shop and try loading up a virtual basket.
As the behaviour of grocery shoppers starts to become more digitally-oriented, an increasing number of customers are starting to demand high-quality online shopping experiences. In other words, they want their e-commerce experiences to be simple, intuitive and consistent.
For retailers offering online shopping experiences, therefore, there has never been a better time to hone their e-commerce businesses to remain competitive in an increasingly crowded space. According to recent studies, this means that retailers should start adding in online features that make for pleasurable and seamless shopping experiences.
Improving the customer experience
One of the most important things to understand about the average online grocery shopper is that they will happily switch to another provider if the service they receive is substandard. This makes the online grocery retail landscape very different from that which can be found on the streets. After all, the physical grocery store customers tend to shop at is usually dictated by its proximity to their home, with most people prioritising convenience over factors such as pricing, choice and quality. With online shopping, this physical barrier simply does not exist.
To remain competitive, online grocery stores must put a significant amount of time and energy into boosting their customers’ overall customer experience (also known as the OCE). The OCE takes into account factors such as the aesthetic value of the site and how easy it is to use. Many studies into the influence of OCE have shown that it plays an important role in determining which retailers shoppers opt for, customer satisfaction levels, purchasing intentions, and overall attitudes towards a given grocery retailer.
Whilst many studies have focussed on the quality of an e-commerce business when it comes to OCE, however, few have taken into account consumers’ overall experience throughout the shopping journey.
For example, retailers need to start looking beyond their businesses and start thinking about whether their delivery and customer services are of high quality. If customers are delighted by a top-quality offering but go on to face delivery delays or substandard communications from a given company, they are more than likely to take their custom elsewhere.
If you’re working in the online grocery space, remember that customers are looking for a holistic set of services that look after their needs at every step of the purchasing process.
So what makes for a high-quality online grocery shopping experience?
Grocery shopping is very different to, say, online clothes shopping. Whilst customers may be happy to browse pages of pretty dresses for hours, they will want to make their online grocery shop as quickly as possible. Indeed, it is worth remembering that grocery shopping is largely functional and that consumers want a purchasing experience that is smooth and simple. As well as making the mobile user-friendly, therefore, it is imperative that online grocery retailers make their delivery processes as transparent as possible, giving customers easy options for tracking their delivery, returning items, and seeking refunds where necessary.
Of course, this does not mean that retailers should forget to offer a pleasurable experience for shoppers. Incorporating engaging content on the e-commerce site such as special offers will only serve to increase overall traffic and boost profits.
What are the benefits of online grocery shopping?
If you’re still wondering why online grocery shopping has become so popular, there are several explanations as to why it is beneficial. These include:
1. It saves time
Online grocery shopping eliminates several time-consuming tasks such as travelling to the grocery store and browsing through aisles to find the relevant ingredients. Most deliveries are also fast and convenient.
2. Items are easy to find
Provided the search function is adequate, customers can find the items they are looking for quickly and easily.
3. Customers can compare products
Comparing products online is easy, particularly if the e-commerce business in question offers a special comparison feature.
4. Customers are less likely to impulse-buy
Customers are likely to save money with online grocery shopping as it reduces the temptation to buy unnecessary items they do not need. They may also be able to identify special offers more easily, particularly if they are highlighted on the website.
5. Customers can shop at any time of the day (or night)
Night owls often benefit from online shopping as they are not restricted by the closing and opening times of physical stores. This is particularly beneficial for people who work nights.
6. Customers do not have to worry about heavy shopping
For those tired of lugging heavy shopping home from the store, online grocery shopping offers an excellent alternative. This is particularly true for those with big families and those who do not own a car.
Why food retailers should start valuing their online shoppers more?
As demonstrated above, the online shopping world is becoming increasingly attractive to consumers, particularly those who lead a busy lifestyle and find shopping in physical stores difficult. As such, it is important that retailers step up their online game to ensure that they stay competitive. This means refining elements of their offering such as the quality of their offers, the availability of their customer service, the quality of their delivery service, and the seamlessness of the online system as a whole.
This is where Ubimecs takes action. Ubimecs Grocery Module offers an all-inclusive commerce platform which will bring a new shopping experience for your customers. You can provide a customized and seamless online grocery shopping with engagement features, campaigns and offers and more.
Contact us today to start a new way of shopping experience for your customers.