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Study: Grocery shoppers not all that connected with social media


While supermarket shoppers engage with their primary grocer on one or more digital platforms, social media sites are not a priority.

This was according to the “U.S. Supermarket Shopper Digital Update,” a report from the Retail Feedback Group (RFG). The new study, an offshoot of RFG's “U.S. Supermarket Experience Study,” focuses specifically on the digital aspects of shopper engagement with supermarkets.

While 87% of supermarket shoppers reported they regularly follow one or more social media sites, just 25% indicated they are friends with or connected to their primary grocery store. Social media sites used most heavily by supermarket shoppers include Facebook (89%), YouTube (53%) Twitter (30%), Pinterest (29%) and Instagram (28%).

It is important to note that members of various generations use social media differently. For example, Millennials use YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat more heavily than other generations.

"Closing the social media gap presents a real opportunity as many shoppers will change their behavior based on recommendations from their social network,” Brian Numainville, RFG principal noted. “For example, our research shows that 45% of supermarket shoppers are very willing to make a new recipe or meal and 32% are very willing to purchase a new food item based on social network suggestions."

While social media adoption may be slow, more than half (56%) of supermarket shoppers interact with their primary food store on one or more digital platforms. Their primary tasks include checking the digital circular (65%), researching special promotions (48%) and building grocery lists (46%), among other activities. Millennials are interacting on digital platforms at a higher rate (66%) as compared to Boomers (47%), the study said.

While 47% of shoppers indicate that their primary store has an app or mobile-enabled site, 44% were not sure, and 10% said their primary store did not. This finding clearly illustrates that retailers need to do a better job communicating the types of digital tools available.

When it comes to in-store satisfaction, on a scale of one to five, supermarkets register at 4.39. Only one type of more mature online shopping platform — general/specialty food websites offering delivery by mail or shipping company — currently surpasses this score with a 4.43.

However, online shopping formats, such as online grocers with delivery and no physical stores (4.36), traditional grocers with delivery (4.35), and traditional grocers with pick up (4.25), all have ratings that are closing in on the rating in-store, the study said.

"Although in-store satisfaction ratings are currently higher than most of the online shopping satisfaction ratings, the gap is closing,” said Doug Madenberg, RFG principal. “We would expect in the future that these ratings will continue to strengthen as online food shopping services refine their offerings and continue to focus on the best possible experience for their customers.”

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