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Online Grocery Sales Have Doubled — Is Your Store Ready To Serve?

Here’s how online grocery stores can boost sales with better customer convenience and online product information – now.

Woman walking a bag of groceries into her home
[@SERGIO MARCOS/Stocksy United]

COVID-19 has forever altered the grocery landscape. There are now 30% more global online grocery buyers. Grocers have also doubled their online business from 5% to 10% of sales. And in Europe, 50% of online grocery shoppers say they intend to continue shopping online for at least some part of their grocery needs. 

For grocers, being online is now table stakes. While customer loyalty to a primary store has remained strong, grocers should not consider their online efforts complete in an industry where margins are small, every competitive edge matters, and existing business models cannot support increased demand. After all, it wasn’t so long ago that we heard stories of site pages crashing, lost delivery time slots, and waitlists. 

So, what can grocers do to find a competitive edge and take their ecommerce channels to the next level?

Give customers the information they crave

COVID-19-related shortages for essential goods left shoppers sometimes blindly purchasing brands they weren’t always familiar with, or toggling between different sites to learn more about products.  

To help shoppers make better purchasing decisions, add more details about products on your site. This may include:

  • Dietary considerations on product pages for food 
  • Ingredients for non-food items, such as cleaning supplies 
  • Tagging items as “gluten-free” or “low-sodium” for shoppers to easily search and find products that suit their needs

Adding these details shows shoppers that you’re there to help them make the right choices for themselves and their families. This boosts confidence, even when shoppers have to make brand swaps.

Delight grocery shoppers with convenience

Seventy-nine percent of consumers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services. For grocery brands, this means creating an online presence that feels convenient. For example, add recipes to your site, where customers can select the dishes they want to create and add a “bundle” of the ingredients to their cart. For even more convenience, link ingredients to store availability so only recipes with the ingredients available at the local store selected will surface.

Seventy-nine percent of consumers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services.

In addition, let shoppers save their purchases as a grocery list so they can use it again next time instead of selecting everything they need from scratch. You can also add functionality to your site to allow shoppers the convenience to create agile grocery orders. This means shoppers can keep a running list and then place their grocery order until just a few hours before it’s bagged.

Improve the in-store pickup experience

Consumers are more willing to pay for grocery deliveries that they can receive within six hours of order placement. 

Solutions like Commerce Cloud for grocery offer specific features and functions for slot management — also known as “click and collect.” When a shopper goes to your site, they select their preferred local store via geolocation or zip code. Next, in-store product offerings, pricing, and pickup times display on their screen. The shopper adds items to their shopping list and cart, and picks a time slot for pick-up. 

Consumers are more willing to pay for grocery deliveries that they can receive within six hours of order placement.

On the back end, slot management automatically surfaces available slots. Each store can manage their own delivery and pickup slots based on the number of picking staff available for fulfilment (slots can be auto-generated based on in-store staff capacity). As soon as the order is placed, store staff receive it from their “picker app” and begin the fulfillment process, using the app as a checklist with order details, customer information, and preferences. 

Get your online experience in the bag

Grocers need an online experience that is simple and flexible so that they can stay nimble and meet new shopper expectations. And with the unknown looming — including lockdowns and the potential for future panic buying – it’s important to scale quickly and provide an omni-channel experience for shoppers.

Cloud-based ecommerce solutions with pre-built features for grocers make it possible to get up and running quickly.

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