Changing consumer behavior during COVID-19 and its impact on omnichannel produce purchasing in retail

Changing consumer behavior during COVID-19 and its impact on omnichannel produce purchasing in retail

Working in the produce industry, we know what a cyclical market can look like. Between too wet or too hot of a season, government hold-ups, supply chain complications, or unforeseeable acts of God, most of us have seen it all. However, when the coronavirus started to become an issue around the world, we all faced a challenge not seen by this generation.

Despite a global pandemic, most supply chains and production of fresh fruits and vegetables are, and I say this with caution, undisturbed. The product is secure, but consumer behaviors are changing rapidly. According to FMI and their recent work with the Hartman Group, “While online shopping has been growing steadily over the last several years, 23% report turning to online orders more during the coronavirus pandemic, and 18% believe they now spend more online for groceries, compared to their prior grocery shopping habits.” The study goes on to say that “among those who purchased fresh produce online in the past year, 42% indicate having done so for the first time this past month.”

With this expediency to move to online shopping, our team dug into a few to ways to differentiate through customization of your omnichannel shopping experience based on feedback from omnishoppers. Connect with an expert to learn more.

1. Tailor product pages to showcase relevant information shoppers need

Providing pertinent product knowledge builds trust with your shoppers and helps them get over the hurdle of buying produce online. Showing relevant information is important in making purchase decisions, like how big/how many are in the pack, where the product is from, and important nutrition and ingredient facts.

2. Allow shoppers to engage and direct the shopping trip

Connecting virtually is more important than ever. Give shoppers tools to communicate with store personnel who are picking items for their order. Offer ways for the consumer to specify desired ripeness, leave comments, and make choices if a desired product is out of stock.

3. Utilize shopper profiles and preferences

Personalize the online experience through prior shopping activity. Offer easy reorder capabilities, shopping list with easy add-to-cart feature and advertise sales based on buying preferences to achieve the highest impact with each shopper. Sampling is a great way to drive sales in store, think outside the box on ways to drive impulse purchases online in a similar manner. Consider offering samples within their order based on purchases of like customers.

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. Visit to see the full omnichannel insights paper or connect with an expert to discuss Robinson Fresh’s capabilities.

Gina Garven

Gina Garven - V.P. of Commercial Development & Analytics, Robinson Fresh

Gina Garven’s expertise in the produce industry includes category and consumer insights, financial planning and analysis, delivery of global BI and technology solutions and retail and foodservice business development, with a strong background and passion for developing supply chain solutions that support our customer’s end consumer. In her role of V.P. of commercial development & analytics for Robinson Fresh, she is responsible for strengthening Robinson Fresh’s industry leadership through the creation of best in class category insights and BI solutions that support our customers and the development of our global commercial strategy. Before joining Robinson Fresh in 2009, she held positions in retail that spanned roles in demand planning, supply chain consulting and procurement. She is a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College, where she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in 2003 in Business Management and Communications.

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