Online grocery pickup is a benefit for consumers, brands, and retailers. For consumers, it offers convenience as they don’t have to spend time in the store and can quickly accomplish their shopping. For brands, this is an opportunity to limit competition and stand out in the virtual shopping aisle. For retailers, it offers a way to create an omnichannel experience for consumers that builds interest in their online channels and their brick-and-mortar locations. To effectively manage this purchase method, brands and retailers must look at ways to ease the consumer transition to online grocery shopping by recognizing and eliminating barriers.
One primary tool which brands and retailers can leverage to optimize the online grocery shopping trend will be the smartphone. Mobile commerce sales will reach over $200 billion this year, and a large part of that comes from the growing prevalence of online grocery options. Brands must recognize the increased demand for mobile commerce options in every facet of retail to effectively capitalize on the future of shopping.
Options in Online Grocery Pickup
Not only does online grocery pickup allow consumers to purchase products easily, it enhances the customer experience by helping them gain more information on products before they make decisions. Because of its convenience, as well as the ability to comparison shop from the comfort of their homes, consumers turn to several places to access these options.
- Retailer direct: Some forward-thinking retailers, like Walmart, have adopted in-house programs to offer consumers the ability to search for products on their website, add them to their carts, and then pick them up at the store. Walmart has rolled out this option at several locations and is even offering same-day delivery in areas of high demand.
- Third-party platforms: Popular third-party grocery delivery programs often partner with retailers to offer curbside pickup. Instacart, one of the most recent but most popular grocery delivery services, has announced plans to add a curbside pickup option in 25 U.S. markets.
- Subscription services: Subscription meal services are a smaller niche market where delivery is typically the only option. Overall, about 6% of consumers reported using a meal prep delivery program like Hello Fresh or Blue Apron in January of 2019. These programs focus on higher end meals and ingredients, and often have limited menus, making them less accessible than retail or third-party options.
Online grocery pickup provides a plethora of opportunities for brands who wish to stand out, as they’re able to concentrate on their online presence rather than on gaining shelf space. However, this type of shopping still only accounts for a small portion of the online grocery market. For consumers, the reluctance to participate in an online grocery pickup program may include:
- Availability: Online grocery pickup is usually only available in higher demand and metro markets. Those in rural areas or smaller suburbs may not have access to such programs.
- Expense: In some cases, retailers price the items included in an online grocery pickup program at a higher cost than they do for traditional shopping to cover their overhead. There are often fees attached to the service, and a required minimum on orders as well. However, pricing is becoming more competitive as major retailers like Walmart have elected to keep prices standard across both delivery and in-store options.
- Timing: Online grocery pickup needs to be a same-day service as items are perishable and spoilage is a risk. Many locations may not have the personnel or inventory to deliver products to consumers on the same day as their order.
Consumer reluctance may become less of an issue as online grocery pickup goes mainstream. However, one of the most significant obstacles is one that most retailers fail to think about; awareness. If consumers don’t know that such programs exist, they won’t try them. Making consumers aware of online grocery pickup is the most critical part of implementing one of these programs.
Gaining Awareness for an Online Grocery Pickup Program
When a retailer or third-party rolls out a new online grocery pickup option, it can be hard to increase consumer awareness. As this is such a popular and rapidly growing choice, many companies are trying to take advantage. To gain recognition for these programs, brands should consider partnering with popular third-party shopping apps like Shopkick to direct consumers to their new online shopping platforms.
Any brand that wishes to expand its presence in the digital space should consider how third-party mobile apps can simplify the path to purchase.
Walmart chose to contact Shopkick to build awareness around their ecommerce options, which include same-day delivery options in select markets. Through this partnership, users can access Shopkick’s “kicks online” section, which directs them to Walmart’s online store. There, they can earn kicks for purchasing specific items, as well as discover more about Walmart’s online grocery program. The focus of this partnership is to drive consumer awareness of Walmart’s digital offerings, as the big-box store is frequently seen as a brick-and-mortar retailer rather than an ecommerce giant.
Implementing an online grocery pickup option is often a challenge for retailers as it’s hard to get consumers to change the way they shop. However, by introducing them to such opportunities via a third-party app they trust, both stores and brands can take advantage of the boom in demand for online grocery shopping. Any brand that wishes to expand its presence in the digital space should consider how third-party mobile apps can simplify the path to purchase.
Shopkick works with our partners to ease the transition to online grocery pickup by getting consumers comfortable with mobile apps and their role in CPG product purchasing. Review some of our success stories to gain greater insight into how mobile apps ease the purchase journey for consumers.
Image courtesy of Georgejmclittle