If traditional supermarket retailers want to become online destinations for grocery, they need to step up their digital shopping experiences.
In fact, shoppers rated their overall satisfaction ordering food and grocery items online highest with Amazon (4.63 on a five-point scale where five is highest), followed by Walmart (4.41). Supermarkets/food stores trailed behind with a rating of 4.32.
This was according to the “2017 U.S. Online Grocery Shopper Study,” from The Retail Feedback Group (RFG).
About half of online shoppers plan to purchase grocery items more often in the coming year. Where they choose to shop is influenced by brands that provide a variety of ordering, fulfillment and people factors.
For example, Amazon shoppers rated nearly all categories of the online shopping experience significantly higher than supermarket/food Store shoppers.
Amazon shoppers also rated six elements significantly higher than Walmart shoppers:
• The online checkout process worked well and without problems
• The website/app worked smoothly during the whole order process;
• The items I wanted to buy were available on the shopping website;
• It was easy to navigate through the site/app to locate the items I wanted;
• The order pickup and delivery process was prompt and efficient, and
• The checkout staﬀ or delivery driver was friendly.
Walmart shoppers rated four elements significantly higher than supermarket/food store shoppers:
• The online checkout process worked well and without problems;
• It was easy to identify sale or specials prices and have those discounts applied during checkout;
• Overall, I received good value for the money I paid for this order; and
• There was an available pickup time or delivery time that was convenient for me.
Supermarket/food store shoppers registered lower "highly satisfied" scores on nearly all elements measured versus Amazon and Walmart online grocery shoppers. The only element that was comparable for grocers: the checkout staff or delivery driver was knowledgeable and professional.
"Clearly Amazon has effectively leveraged its deep roots in online retailing to inform their efforts in online grocery, leading to the strongest ‘highly satisfied’ marks found in our research,” said Brian Numainville, RFG principal.
“Walmart, although registering lower than Amazon on overall satisfaction and several measured elements, also scored meaningfully higher than supermarkets/food stores in several areas core to their brand, including value, as well as identifying and receiving discounts,” he added. “It appears supermarkets and food stores have work to do to improve their scores in online grocery shopping relative to these retailers.”
Consumers indicated that online grocery shopping strengths include making the most efficient use of their time and being more convenient. Conversely, in-store shopping strengths were providing products best meeting standards for quality and freshness, offering a better selection of products for shopper needs, making shoppers feel more valued as a customer, providing better customer service, showing the company knows and cares about food, and providing more value for the money spent. A few areas, including pleasantly surprising, enjoyable, and taking better care of securing payment and personal information, received more of a balanced assessment across both types of shopping.
The one area that fell short across the board however, was produce (39%). About eight out of 10 online shoppers indicated that freshness and quality were the top factors they consider when purchasing produce online. Among those who do not purchase produce online, the top reasons were wanting to choose produce items themselves (66%) or that produce might not be fresh enough (55%). The lowest reasons were limited variety available (16%) or that prices might be higher than in the store (14%).