This post originally appeared as a Special Guest Blog on the Center for Advancing Retail (CART) Blog

The day has come. You’re ready to place your first grocery order online. Your friends have boasted about how easy it is for months, but you’ve always been a bit skeptical. Besides, you’ve been going to the supermarket every Sunday for years, so why change now? However, this week is exceptionally busy and the fridge is near empty, so you decide to give it a try.

You go to your grocer’s website and sign up using your current loyalty card number. The first thing you see is a prompt to re-order your last in-store order at the click of a button, and access a list of the items you purchase most frequently. You’re delighted at how easy this feels. You then click on the dairy department and your favorite almond and soy milk brands appear at the top of the assortment, again feeling pleasantly surprised at how little work you have to do to find your usual items.

As you make your way through the catalogue and over to check out, you realize that it’s only taken a mere few minutes to build your cart based on your habits and budget. As you check out, more recommendations pop up that you’re keen to try, so you add those as well. A few clicks later and you’re done. You’re officially hooked! How could you not have tried this earlier?

Sound familiar? Probably not. That’s because these magical experiences are seldom executed, as most eCommerce implementations are treated in isolation from other critical parts of the grocery experience. This desirable story would have been possible with the integration of a retailer’s eCommerce experience and their loyalty program. It’s the only way to achieve this level of 1-to-1 personalization and time savings, which are the most important aspects of a stand-out digital customer experience.

The long awaited marriage of loyalty and eCommerce is critical for both the shopper and the retailer. As we’ve seen for the shopper, it makes the first shop, and every subsequent shop, as easy as possible. Years of past shopping behaviour is leveraged so that the shopper doesn’t have to sift through thousands of products to find the ones they always buy. When consumers go in-store, they know exactly what aisles and shelves to find their usual items. It needs to be this easy online as well, and ifthe retailer can present the most relevant items first, the shopper is delighted and saves time. While connecting eCommerce to loyalty requires extra efforts, it will ensure that shopper loyalty will skyrocket, yielding a much stronger ROI on the eCommerce project.

The retailer also greatly benefits from integrating loyalty and eCommerce. It provides a 360 view of each customer’s shopping behaviour both online and in-store, allowing the retailer to properly measure the ROI and impact of eCommerce. They will be able to assess how basket size, item assortment, and frequency of purchase change across both channels. With the profitability of eCommerce being such a hot topic, the only way retailers can properly quantify the situation and assess how it’s affecting their business is by having the complete picture.

The future of eCommerce and loyalty is the same as it is for all things digital grocery: a completely integrated, seamless, omni-channel shopping experience. One site, one app, and one login that serves all grocery use cases, from online shopping to list planning to loyalty to coupons and more. Everything connected in a simple and easy way – just the way the shopper expects it. We’re on our way, and integration between loyalty, eCommerce and all other elements like the weekly ad and digital coupons is the first major step to getting there.

To learn more about launching a loyalty program that is connected to your entire shopping experience, request a demo.

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