Last updated: 6 omnichannel grocery trends that are here to stay

6 omnichannel grocery trends that are here to stay


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While the pandemic gave omnichannel retail a turbo boost, many of those online habits are expected to stick around. This means that grocers have some work to do to offer convenient and personalized experiences that will encourage shoppers to continue checking out across channels.

Two essential strategies to winning in omnichannel grocery center on making the most of loyalty and upsells, as 82% of online consumers start with their past purchase as a baseline when placing an online order.

To help omnichannel grocers keep order volume up and customers happy, here are six consumer trends to keep in mind.

The future of grocery is omnichannel

As is true with other sections of retail: channel lines in grocery have blurred and an omnichannel approach is the only way to keep up with customers who prefer myriad shopping experiences. What holds true across each and every channel is that a customer-centric strategy is required.

Shoppers expect a personalized experience no matter the channel they choose to use. The benefits for grocers that get this right are well established. Leading grocers are using omnichannel personalization strategies to increase basket sizes and drive growth and profitability.

Grocers should plan on these consumer trends:
  1. Consumers are shopping online in multiple ways
  2. Fresh and frozen foods have gained online traction
  3. Shoppers want BOPIS and curbside options
  4. Online shopping experiences inform grocery preferences
  5. Consumers will pay more for online groceries — to a point
  6. Healthy and sustainable foods are growing in popularity

Keeping up with the omnichannel grocery shopper

There are several types of online grocery shoppers. Some might order everything they need from one store, while others might use an online order to supplement their weekly in-store trips. This means grocers need to stay up to date on consumers’ preferences.

While online grocery channels are driving revenue, in-store isn’t going anywhere.

Grocers are highly experiential businesses, so physical footprints need to be reconfigured for the modern era. Stores can be used to educate consumers on products, reinforce brand positioning, and support e-commerce sales.

Alongside the staying power of in-store shopping, online grocery can be woven in to support other channels. For example, encourage in-store shoppers to earn rewards by downloading an app or display an ad for grocery delivery alongside store hours.

E-grocery goes beyond pantry basics

Online shopping is no longer just for bulk pantry items like flour and cereal. In fact, this channel is driving half of center-store and fresh categories sales growth in both dollar and unit growth.

This growing online grocery demand for fresh and frozen foods requires omnichannel grocers to invest in both efficient in-store and curbside pickup. They also need to invest in climate-controlled delivery options so that customers can receive their goods as they would if they had gone into the store themselves.

BOPIS give delivery a run for its money

In the middle of the pandemic, shoppers leaned on services such as pickup and delivery to stay safe. But once society started to open, shoppers still wanted the convenience factor, but didn’t fear a trip to the store as much, making buy online and picking up curbside or in-store more popular than ever.

That is exemplified by that fact that 68% of consumers shop online for groceries with curbside pickup. Grocers that shore up their pickup process will be more likely to become shopper favorites.

First impressions matter in omnichannel grocery

Not offering your own delivery service or partnering with an Instacart or Gopuff simply isn’t an option anymore. Each grocer with a physical footprint needs to invest in online options to connect with their customers using online commerce channels.

And the experience that omnichannel grocery shoppers have during their first order will inform whether they will become repeat customers or not.

Put your best foot forward by investing in a seamless customer experience across channels.

Delivery means more $, but there’s a tipping point

Delivery fees and small surcharges are expected for the convenience factor that grocery delivery offers, but grocers have to keep costs is check.

Prices can’t be exorbitant for online grocery shopping, otherwise customers will notice the discrepancy and either avoid these lucrative online channels or choose a different grocer all together. Find a balance that feels fair or even start a subscription service to encourage more frequent orders.

Healthy and environmentally friendly products rise to the top 

Grocery customers are increasingly looking for three food that’s healthy, a trend that gained steam in the depths of the pandemic. They want food made from natural ingredients and free of additives, making organic options more and more popular.

A growing number of consumers also search out food that’s environmentally sustainable, including locally produced consumables. They’re also willing to pay more for sustainable products.

Grocers that pay attention to this and other trends in their omnichannel strategy will be put themselves on a growth path. With the right loyalty programs, personalized offers, and effective incentives, customers can be nudged into stores while also increasing their frequency and basket size of online purchases.

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