In 2015, meal planning is a complex art that requires some thought and organization. It therefore comes as no surprise that the Web or mobility play a role in grocery store visits for many consumers. Over 40% of American adults who use the Internet say they consult flyers, and use online coupons and recipes before buying their groceries. Also, 66% of Americans who use a smartphone claim they have used it for food purchases (eMarketer, 2014).
This data suggests that online grocery shopping is the next logical step. Yet consumers are not ready. Only 11% of American Internet users do their groceries online (eMarketer, 2014). In Quebec, IGA is the only industry player that allows you to purchase products online. In that context, how can grocery stores gradually optimize their customers’ experience on the Web and with mobility?
Mobility and the Grocery List
Most supermarket visits are guided by a mental list, whether paper or virtual. According to a study published by eMarketer (2014), 88% of Americans who use a smartphone say they make a grocery list. Knowing that consumers consult the Web before shopping at the supermarket, that they use their phone while shopping, and that most of them make a list, the opportunity is clear. It would undoubtedly be profitable for grocery stores to offer their customers a mobile app, which they could use to make a list according to their needs and based on the products available at the store. This list could be consulted on site with a mobile device.
An Omnichannel Experience
For consumers to find an app interesting within the context of grocery shopping, it must allow for greater efficiency. Indeed, for 55% of American mobile Internet users, the main disincentive to using a grocery app is the fear of slowing the process down rather than speeding it up (eMarketer, 2014). By building on an omnichannel approach that integrates all of the steps of a trip to the grocery store, it is possible to counter this barrier by making each trip more effective. Here is how this could be reflected in concrete terms:
Before : Consumers do a search on their grocery store’s Web site to find recipes, coupons and acquaint themselves with current promotional offers. This allows consumers to choose the products they want to buy and to create a grocery list directly on the Web site.
During : Once at the store, consumers consult their list on the grocery store’s mobile app. By using this application, it is easier for them to find their way in the aisles with geolocation, receive special promotions, obtain additional product information, and use mobile payment.
After : The purchase preferences of consumers are analyzed to customize the experience the next time they go grocery shopping. The result is increased efficiency.
The omnichannel approach enables cross-platform synergy, as well as synergy between the Web and the in-store experience. This is beneficial for grocery stores, which emphasize2 their products throughout the process, and for consumers, who can be more effective at the supermarket. This approach is one way of gradually preparing the market to develop online grocery stores in Canada. Considering the complexity of implementing such a system for fresh products, it would be a major step for the industry, which might require several stages (Mulpuru, Freeman and Geldern, 2013). Mobility is one of them.
Garcia, Krista (2014). “Supermarkets and Mobile: Satisfying Grocery Shoppers’ App-etites,” report, eMarketer.
eMarketer (2014). “Digital Grocery Shopping Activities Conducted by US Internet Users,” [graphique].
Mulpuru, Sucharita, Freeman, Patti and Kate van Geldern (2010). “Who Buys Groceries Online And Why,” report, Cambridge, Forrester Research, 11p.
Orsini, Patricia (2014). “Brands Go Mobile in the Grocery Aisle: Closing the Loop Between Awareness and Purchase,” report, eMarketer.
Amélie Bériault Poirier is an analyst with Imarklab, an interactive marketing research firm partnered with Leger. She holds a BA in Business Administration and is in the process of obtaining her Masters degree in Marketing from HEC Montreal. As part of her thesis, she focused on consumer behavior and visual social media, such as Pinterest, and the potential role of these platforms in the buying decision process. She has acquired a thorough knowledge of consumer behavior on the Web and marketing research methodologies.