Is Online Grocery Shopping The Way Ahead?

We recently produced an FMCG online shopper report, the full details of which you can see if you click the link below this article. When we set out to write the report, we had a number of questions – are online FMCG shoppers usually younger and tech savvy, do they live in bigger cities, and how do brands become part of their shopping basket?

Whilst answers to these questions and more are included in our report, it also made me think about my own shopping habits.  I am not a good planner, and consequently end up doing a food shop a couple of times a week.  I don’t like going to large supermarkets which means I tend to use a mix of M&S, Lidl and Iceland, depending on what I need to get.  As you can imagine this is not an efficient way to shop either in terms of my time or the amount of money I spend.

So one evening, I finally made my first attempt at online grocery shopping. It was a much longer experience than I imagined but the next time it will be significantly quicker as it will remember me and the things I bought. When my shopping arrived the next day my immediate thought was ‘there’s not much here, they’ve forgotten things’ – so Duncan, the delivery driver, went through my order with me, and everything I’d ordered was there.  I’d just forgotten that when I go shopping I’m a bit of a magpie, if something is shiny and new, I’ll drop it into my shopping basket, or, which invariably happens, I shop when I’m hungry, so snacks find their way into my basket too.  

The whole experience got me thinking, shopping online is a much more considered process and in general the urge to impulse purchase is dramatically reduced (it certainly was for me) so what effect will that have on brands? How will this change in the consumer journey affect what we do for our clients to get people to purchase? If we can’t nudge them just as they arrive with a nice shiny poster by the supermarket entrance, if the children are not walking grabbing things off the shelf and saying “can we have these? Please can we, can we?” how do we drive those purchases? Also if the online store remembers what I bought previously how do we get people to swap brands? Inertia is an issue at the best of times but if a certain brand of washing powder or pasta sauce is already in my basket how motivated will I be to take it out and look for another make, especially when convenience and speed is one of the key reasons for doing this shop.

Online shopping is obviously not new but with the increasing uptake, with companies such as Amazon looking to make inroads into this market, and soon with the growing use of voice assistants it is going to create a lot of new challenges that Brands and us as their media agencies will need to overcome.

I’m going to continue doing my grocery shopping online, as the time, effort, and calories saved far outweighs the instant gratification of being able to put a bag of crisps in my basket. Or dip.

Not that I’m easily influenced (or so I thought), but along the way I also seem to have purchased an Amazon Echo…..’Alexa, add crisps to my shopping list..’!

To read the report click here

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