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A pulse on omnichannel grocery shopping: Are grocers set up for success?
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A pulse on omnichannel grocery shopping: Are grocers set up for success?

While consumers have shopped online for durables and dry grocery items for a number of years, adoption of the digital channel to buy fresh groceries, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, has been lagging. However, in a recent survey, we found that 54% of online shoppers bought fresh produce online for the first time since COVID-19 “shelter at home” recommendations began.

Consumers have enjoyed the convenience, ease of ordering, and product quality in regard to their online grocery orders. These sentiments are mitigating previous concerns of having someone else shop for their fresh items, generating lasting effects in the industry. Seventy percent of shoppers who purchased produce online in the past three months plan to continue this behavior after concerns of COVID-19 have passed.

What are best-in-class omnichannel retailers doing?

Provide comprehensive product information

When selling produce online, it is essential to have the fundamentals right, including:
• A variety of product images from multiple angles in and out of pack
• Product descriptions that describe flavor profiles, proper storage and ways to utilize the product
• Clearly visible nutritional facts, including allergen and dietary information

Mimic the in-store sensory experience of looking at a product from all angles, reading the front and back labels on the packaging, and acquiring education and guidance from shelf signage or the produce manager.

Leverage a digital promotional plan

Promotions are just as important (and impactful) online as they are in-store. Consumers are accustomed to finding deals from a variety of vehicles online—through targeted emails, digital advertisements, and retail mobile applications. Highlight exciting promotional pricing wherever and whenever possible to encourage grocery purchase decisions online.

Offer related product suggestions

Providing customized recommendations in the online experience is critical to achieve shopper loyalty. Over a third of consumers would like to be presented with recipes for the items they are purchasing, with the option to add additional ingredients to their cart. Similarly, displaying suggestions for similar and complimentary items, such as those part of recipes, also aids consumers on their digital shopping trips. This helps to recreate the in-store inspiration many consumers crave.

What can strengthen the omnichannel grocery shopping experience?

Facilitate two-way communication

The ability for the consumer to interact with the shopper/picker via text or an in-app message would make them more confident in the shopper/picking selecting their products. Consumers have higher satisfaction when they can make specific requests around ripeness and size.

Manage out of stock items

The biggest complaint among consumers is when items are out of stock. Due to the nature of perishable produce, out of stock items are inevitable. However, putting simple processes in place will help keep consumer satisfaction high. Most consumers (especially those ages 55-64 years-old) will ask for a substitute when their desired item is deemed unavailable, instead of taking their shopping trip to another store to find the desired product. Open communication during the picking process between the shopper/picker and consumer will enable consumers to select an acceptable replacement.

Improve delivery to home

While delivery to home is the preferred method to receive online orders, when produce is part of the order consumers are more likely to select curbside pick-up. This presents a great opportunity for retailers to improve the “last mile” delivery to ensure optimal convenience and satisfaction for their shoppers.

Let’s talk fresh

Robinson Fresh is reshaping the produce category to win in omnichannel and is here to support you in winning with your omnishoppers. In August 2020, Robinson Fresh conducted a primary research survey of U.S. shoppers who have purchased groceries online. This is one survey of several conducted by Robinson Fresh that contributes to the company’s information advantage, driving smarter solutions for businesses through experience, data, and scale. Visit Robinson Fresh’s website for information about how successful omnichannel retail experiences can reshape your produce department. Or connect with an expert to discuss Robinson Fresh’s capabilities and your needs.

Dana Klion

Dana Klion - Director of Omnichannel Strategy for Robinson Fresh

Dana Klion’s omnichannel expertise stems from multiple roles in the eCommerce and retail grocery space, from sourcing to merchandising to marketing. As director of Omnichannel Strategy for Robinson Fresh, Dana has been building digital tools and capabilities to support our customers and the development of their omnichannel approach. Her passion for the produce industry runs deep. She is a graduate of Cornell University where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in the School of Agriculture for Applied Economics and Management.
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