The convenience of having your weekly shop delivered to your door was always likely to resonate with consumers. Over time, faster internet speeds and portable devices such as phones or tablets have made it more convenient to do a weekly shop online. Smart devices have enhanced this further making it hassle free. Development of new technology will continue making online shopping much easier for consumers.
The online shopping trend has been further supported by the lockdown conditions as consumers keen to avoid crowded stores migrate to online. Pre-covid online share of grocery sales were c.7% peaking at c. 15% during the lockdown and settling down to 13%-14% of sales over the past few months (Kantar), despite the easing of lockdown conditions.
Additionally, Levercliff’s research has shown that satisfaction levels are greater with shopping online - younger consumers in particular are happy to continue to do most of their shopping this way and few have missed in-store shopping; however, during our research older consumers (65+) noted that they actually enjoy getting out and doing the shop. This clearly illustrates the importance of knowing your consumer.
Different categories perform better in an online environment. Alcohol is the star performer in this channel with over 50% of UK shoppers purchasing these products online according to Statista.
Alcohol has a relatively well-developed online presence and can be bought in variety of ways including subscription services, online drinks specialists as well as from retailers’ online grocery sites.
It covers a variety of needs from buying in bulk, to getting the best deals easily delivered to your door, to finding that special tipple you tried in the posh bar on a night out.
Unsurprisingly, fresh products do not perform as well online, with many consumers wanting to see the product before purchasing and being able to check the freshness and quality when in store. There will always be a significant number of consumers that prefer to visit stores to pick their fresh fruit, bakery, veg and meat.
So, what does this mean for food and drink businesses that want to make the most of this channel?
The migration of a large proportion of consumers from in-store to online will have considerable implications for brands. Those that don’t adapt will miss out on key sales opportunities
Careful consideration should be given to what online solution best fits your company and products. Would it be best to go direct to consumer via your own website, build a presence in an online marketplace such as Amazon or achieve a listing with an online retailer such as Ocado?
If you’re listed with a major multiple that has an online shop, make sure your products are available online – this isn’t always guaranteed!
Like in-store, your products will need to be promoted…and this doesn’t just mean price. For example, Ocado have recently opened an opportunity to all suppliers through their partner Citrus Ad for suppliers to bid for a sponsored product and banner ad slot on the Ocado site.
Other key considerations include ensuring that you have high quality and appealing product images and clear and relevant product descriptions - it’s no good calling your product a strawberry preserve when most consumers search for jam.
Click here to download our bitesize report on Online Grocery Shopping.