Grocery shoppers use a variety of digital tools to research and plan purchases as a new study shows. Moreover, even if there aren’t many online grocery shoppers, those who purchase using online environments are frequent shoppers.
Even if the grocery shopping segment isn’t using the new digital technologies to the fullest and isn’t very developed in what direct online sales are concerned, it does rely on digital tools for final purchases. The technologies available are well known by grocery shoppers who use them to research products and deals. More than 50% of consumers value “easy-to-use” websites, an Empathica survey covering technologies, in-store and out, shows. Also, almost as many people are interested in offers sent to email or mobile phones.
Only 2% of total grocery spending was made online, as April 2011 data from AlixPartners shows. But it is important to notice as well that from those purchasing groceries online, 43% shopped weekly and 12% monthly, as a survey by Allrecipes.com found out. The same survey made in March 2012 showed that only 24% of the internet users interviewed bought groceries online.
“What is changing—and rapidly—is how likely grocery shoppers are to use a variety of digital tools to research and plan purchases, whether or not those purchases ultimately are made online. These tools are affecting how brick-and-mortar retailers sell groceries, and how supermarkets and customers interact,” declared Krista Garcia, eMarketer analyst and author of the new report, “US Digital Grocery Shopping: Meeting Demand at Home, In-Aisle and On the Go”.
These conclusions might not come as a surprise. More and more people own smartphones and they use them in order to read emails or the lists already prepared from home with the items that need to be bought when grocery shopping. Mobile phones are very useful, eco-friendly (no printing) and easy to use – you just erase the items bought, not to mention that a telephone is a small device, unlike a pen and a piece of paper or a notebook. I have to admit that I am also making online grocery purchases, but also in-store ones. I do use technology to prepare the list and find out about promotions (catalogues published on hypermarkets websites are very useful) and I think we could see an increase in the next years in the online grocery shopping volume. Of course, you have to find a provider that always has fresh products in order to trust online buying – especially for products like fresh fruits or vegetables – but once you find one you’ll place recurring orders. Another option is combining online grocery shopping – that has the advantage of home delivery – with the in-store purchases for fresh produce.
Let’s not forget that in other parts of the world, online shopping had an interesting development. In South Korea Tesco opened a subway virtual store – and yes, this means anyone can copy their sales model: you can grocery shop via smartphone, by scanning codes after seeing the products displayed on shelves within the subway stations. How about that for smart technology use and an online purchase?