This article originally appeared on TheShelbyReport.com
Keeping up with today’s shopper isn’t easy. They are faced with more options than ever before and every aspect of their busy life plays a role in their shopping decisions. The way they think about and approach shopping with you can change on a dime. They’re evolving, and your digital experience needs to evolve with them.
To adapt to this new dynamic shopper, you need to offer a comprehensive digital experience where they can access everything, everywhere, at any time, in any way. I call this Omni-Commerce Grocery.
Every shopper is unique and has different preferences, needs and requirements. To fulfill those different needs, your online shopping experience needs to go beyond basic features like products and pricing to include everything that your shoppers have come to know and love about your in-store experience and your brand: from the weekly ad, to offers, coupons, catering and loyalty. Once your online experience is robust, you need to go one step further with complete personalization. It not only enhances the entire digital experience, but today’s shopper expects it.
The channel in which shoppers interact with you is perhaps one of the most ever-changing aspects of retail today. In 2015, the number of mobile users overtook desktop users, changing how retailers market and deliver their product. As new mediums and channels emerge, like voice activated assistants/smart speakers, smart watches, and eventually AR glasses, consumer behavior will continue to evolve.
Having a presence across new digital channels is essential for connecting with the modern shopper wherever they are, whether it be on the go, at the office or in the kitchen—and enabling the most convenient experience possible. However, the ability to switch between channels seamlessly—from web to mobile, or even voice to mobile—is what will set your digital experience apart. Imagine this: your shopper builds their shopping list via their smart speaker, changes a few items later via your mobile app and visits your store to actually purchase those items, using the app to guide them through the aisles. This kind of integrated and augmented shopping experience enables the next level of convenience that shoppers are looking for, ensuring your brand will remain relevant as technology continues to reshape shopping habits.
Over the past five years, expectations around convenience and instant access have been transformed across a number of industries. Thanks to Uber, instant car services are available at the click of the button, and in front of you within minutes. This type of real-time digital fulfillment is happening in the grocery industry too. Whether it be through your app or website, your shopper expects instant access to their profile, past purchases, quick fulfillment options and more. They should be able to engage with you at any time.
Consider offering as much flexibility as you can when it comes to fulfilment. That could mean offering personalized push notifications with offers, auto-refill shopping list suggestions based on past purchases, same-day, next-day or even 2-hour delivery, or curbside pickup in as little as one hour. The more choices you can offer, the better.
Online grocery shopping is growing, but that doesn’t mean that the in-store experience is going anywhere. In fact, it’s the opposite. Online shoppers still visit the grocery store on average twice per week. Thus, unifying the online and offline experience is critical.
Whether your shopper wants to use your digital experience to plan their in-store trip or to order online, you need to adapt the digital shopping experience to meet their needs that day. As soon as they arrive on your site, ask them how they’d like to shop today and configure their experience accordingly, displaying accurate products, sales, store information, functionality and more. Make sure that their in-store purchase history follows them online, enabling better recommendations and making it easy to quickly build their basket based on previously purchased items. Finally, make it effortless for your shoppers to switch between ways of shopping from a delivery/click & collect cart to an in-store list, an in-store list to a delivery/click and collect cart, or even a click & collect cart to a delivery cart—all at the click of a button—and then updating the products, sales and functionality.
As technology continues to evolve, so will the expectations and preferences of today’s grocery shopper. To keep up, your shopping experience needs to offer everything, everywhere, at any time, in any way. Simple enough, right?
To learn more about grocery omni-channel and how to achieve it, download The Secrets to a True Omni-Commerce Grocery Shopping Experience.