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Survey reveals how to drive online grocery purchases

Online grocery retailers can make a difference in their conversion rates.

Online grocery retailers can leverage a few key technology solutions to help ensure browsers convert into buyers.

According to a new survey of U.S. and U.K. consumers from cloud-based CRM technology provider Lucidworks, only 28% of respondents are being offered alternative recommendations every time an item they want is unavailable. Roughly one in 10 (11%) respondents reported that they rarely see recommendations for substitutes and usually end up on a “no results” page.

However, nearly one-third of shoppers will stay on the same site or app to look for a substitute if they can’t find the specific item they’re looking for. Despite this flexibility, 90% of respondents said there is at least one item that they would never buy a substitute for based on ingredients, preparation and brand.

Almost six in 10 (58%) respondents said that out-of-stock instances have increased both online and in-store during the pandemic, with more than half of respondents saying that a low-in-stock notification would influence their purchase decision. Eighty percent of those shoppers would be more likely to make the purchase if they were alerted when items were low-in-stock. Two-thirds (66%) of respondents prefer to be notified via email when an item is back in stock, and 44% prefer to receive those notifications via text.

Other key findings in the survey include:

  • Six in 10 (59%) respondents buy groceries directly from a grocer’s website versus a third-party app.
  • Nearly half of respondents will shop with a different grocer if they can’t find what they need on their preferred app or website.
  • One in five respondents want an out-of-stock item they like to be automatically added to their online cart when it comes back in stock.

Convenience drives grocery shoppers online
According to a recent Chicory U.S. consumer survey, online grocery shoppers are also interested in a convenient customer experience. More than seven in 10 (72%) respondents reported ordering groceries online in the past 90 days. The top driver of these orders was convenience and/or time constraints, at 46%.

Interestingly, only 10% of respondents to the Chicory survey reported that health and safety concerns were the top driver of online orders. This is the same percentage that cited having a preference for the digital experience over the in-store experience. In addition, over 52% of survey respondents reported placing online grocery orders at least once a week. Of respondents who reported adding groceries to their cart daily, 90% reported placing an online order at least weekly (44% once a week and 46% more than once a week).

That survey also indicated that online grocery shoppers are willing to spend money. Over one-third of respondents reported spending over $100 on an online order, up almost 16% from 2021.

The Lucidworks survey was conducted in March 2022 and limited to 401 U.S. respondents and 402 U.K. respondents who shop online for groceries at least once a month.

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