Last updated: Hey big spender: Winning the omnichannel grocery shopper

Hey big spender: Winning the omnichannel grocery shopper


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Online grocery shopping transformed from niche to a lifeline during the pandemic and the actions that omnichannel grocers take now will solidify its rise.

Exclusively shopping for groceries online makes up only a fraction of consumer shopping habits and is expected to grow 8% over the next year. In-store only shoppers make up the lion’s share of grocery customers, but even their spend will increase just 12%.

The real growth will occur with omnichannel grocery. While these hybrid shoppers only make up 4.3% of grocery shoppers, their growth in spend is slated to be 18%.

So what can grocers do to court these growth leaders?

  1. Personalization for relevant customer engagement
  2. Provide a blended online and in-store grocery experience 
  3. Data integration across the organization to understand the customer

Boost basket size with omnichannel grocery

In-store grocery accounts for 80% of spend for a reason: grocery shopping is largely experiential. Shoppers are looking at labels, smelling fruit, checking expiration dates.

Not to mention, it’s an entirely emotional experience: shoppers and their families will be eating and enjoying these products; they want to pick the very best for their loved ones. However, there are several categories of products where anyone can make the right call.

Many shoppers use online orders as supplements to their in-store purchases. Got the milk and eggs yesterday, but forgot the Goldfish and Cheerios? A store employee can quickly bag up the items you forgot and bring them to your car or deliver them to your home. These omnichannel grocery customers are driving much of the growth because they are engaging on multiple channels.

While in-store shoppers might stick to the list, online orders are more likely to add up quickly, as online grocery shoppers spend significantly more ($74 online basket average versus $55 in-store basket).

Meeting shoppers’ needs across channels makes grocers that much more helpful for their busy customers and comes with the added bonus of increasing average orders.

Be relevant, get customers to stick 

Loyalty in grocery is about more than just driving to a sale, it’s also about personalization and education. Think recipe ideas and nutrition information.

With more digital touchpoints associated with the omnichannel shopper, grocers have more opportunities to provide experiences and information that can set them apart from competitors.

Omnichannel grocery is all about balance. Grocers can’t continually remind shoppers to checkout again because seasonal needs change, or they might go on vacation and not need an order for a couple of weeks. Grocers need to find a balance that works for the customer so that they’re helpful, instead of encouraging shoppers to hit “unsubscribe” when they get one too many irrelevant emails.

Shoppers are ready for omnichannel. Grocers need to catch up

The pandemic encouraged online grocery purchases and some of these habits will stick around in the coming years. But grocers need to be able to meet the needs of these omnishoppers now so that’re able to enjoy the opportunity in this growing sector. The future of grocery will be “phygital,” which requires seamlessly blending the benefits of the online and in-store grocery experiences.

Some grocers might fear that investing in online channels will be costly and cannibalize their in-store operations, but meeting shoppers where they are and gently nudging them towards the products and experiences they’re likely to enjoy will always be a good investment.

If fact, large grocers that have invested in an omnichannel strategy have been able to increase their total share of wallet with omnishoppers by 29%. In a lower margin sector of retail, this is a very significant amount of revenue that no grocer should ignore.

Besides the physical infrastructure that’s needed to handle online orders, grocers also need to focus on data integration. There can’t be silos across the organization. Grocers need a full understanding of who shoppers are, what they purchased in the past, their favorite channels, and more to provide spot-on recommendations.

Amazon has a subscribe-and-save program for grocery and household items that need to be replaced often. Creating a program like this first requires an understanding of how often a shopper buys that item and giving them options for delivery and pick up. The consistent revenue that comes from such a program is well worth the effort.

Omnichannel grocery: The time is now 

Integrating data across online and in-store grocery channels is essential to a strong growth plan because it enables personalization that can enhance the omnichannel customer experience. A complete omnichannel marketing strategy includes interaction at every point along the consumer journey and comes with tangible benefits.

When grocers get omnichannel personalization right, they can reap the benefits of lower customer acquisition costs, more revenue, and increased marketing efficiency. Now’s the time to put the digital and physical infrastructure in place.

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