27 May 2015

Online shopping vs in-store shopping – and the winner is…?

2 minute read

Note: This is from our old blog and is no longer being updated. It was originally published in 2015.

Buying groceries – a modern day dilemma

I want to save time by shopping online. But then I also like to visit the store – I like the in-store experience and I certainly want to see fruit and vegetables before I buy them. It’s a modern-day dilemma!

There’s been a lot of discussion about online shopping recently. There have been two major reports released about the changes in shopping behavior and the reshuffle of the retail scene: One by IRI focusing on the US and one by Nielsen capturing 30,000 shoppers across 60 markets globally.

These are the five key messages emerging:

  1. Regardless of country, online grocery shopping is picking up speed
    A quarter already do their grocery shopping online and over half claiming that they will adopt in the future. Millennials are leading the way!
  2. Brick-and-mortar stores still play a key role in shoppers’ lives
    Well over half of shoppers consider the trip to the store entertaining and the shopping experience fun and engaging.  This varies significantly by country/region.
  3. The virtual basket does not mirror the physical one!
    There is a major disparity between the mix of food to non-food…  the biggest online growth is in the non-food, CPG categories like personal, health care, beauty, beverages, etc.
  4. New players are more open-minded
    New players experiment with online categories… one example is Amazon Fresh who saw online sales growing exponentially for sparkling and mineral water. Shoppers are indeed willing to pay for delivery costs for this category.
  5. Digital has significantly expanded the path-to-purchase
    Even shoppers who exclusively buy from brick-and-mortar stores are likely to be influenced by some digital media. This poses opportunities for greater shopper understanding and optimizing the in-store versus online service offer.

Back with my grocery hat on and having two demanding teenagers at home who expect at least two flavorful cooked meals a day, I would welcome support with planning. If my supermarket chain would post two or three recipes on my mobile on a daily basis with options of online delivery or even pick up it could save a lot of time and effort.

Online shopping is already changing the face of the retailer environment with a number of the retailer giants setting up smaller, specialized stores (i.e. Tesco Fresh and Easy neighbourhood market).

Understanding local consumer trends and shopper segments and not depending on historic data alone, will determine the success of most retailers in evolving a balanced mix of bricks-and-mortar formats and online services.  There is no going back!