According to grocery sales statistics fresh foods can account for up to 40 percent of the revenue. This fact plays a major role in e-groceries as well. The retailers should encourage their online customers to shop for fresh food in order to increase the average order value. However, according to the article by Elaine Watson+, Online grocery shoppers are upping their spending online, but remain wary of buying fresh produce.
Shoppers are concerned that they would get products in a bad condition, damaged or close to the expiry date if they order online. We are all used to gauging the quality and freshness of products, choosing ones that match our expectations – something that obviously cannot be done on the web page. So what is the point of shopping online if one still has to drive to the supermarket to complete it? Fresh food shopping can be a huge barrier that can discourage customers from online shopping altogether.
On the other hand, fresh food shopping in online groceries brings many benefits to the retailer:
- A larger proportion of the customer’s wallet
- Bigger baskets that alleviate delivery costs
- Strengthening loyalty bonds
- More sales
Here are some ideas on how you can leverage user experience in online groceries to encourage customers to add fresh products in their baskets. Some have been put into practice, some are merely ideas hoping to spur your creativity in finding new ways to delight your customers.
1. Get the basics right
You can be pretty sure that the bottle of beer you have ordered online will fairly match the product image on the web site. With lettuce or apples, it is another story. Many things have to be done right to ensure the delivered product looks just as fresh and crispy as its image on the web site. Customers trust you on that. One mistake in this regard is enough to lose them forever.
Relevant product descriptions and information about their origin and suppliers (customers want to know where their food is coming from) are helpful as well.
Supplementing that info with customer ratings can enhance your image of an honest and trustworthy retailer, even if the ratings are not always perfect.
2. Mimic the way customers shop offline
Using grocery specific features customers can select how ripe the fruits they want should be or how thick the steaks should be cut. They can be offered alternative suggestions (of healthier, cheaper or recipe-based alternatives to the chosen product).
What if customer places an order and forgets to add lettuce to the basket? Oh no! She can’t order just lettuce in a separate order. Now she will have to drive to the local market anyway – something she wanted to avoid in the first place! Or…
Or you can implement a feature that allows her to add items to the basket after the order has already been submitted (before picking is completed). This features basically follow the way people shop in the grocery store. If you complement that with a money-back guarantee ensuring that fresh foods are always delivered in a perfect condition, you will increase the chances the customer will put something fresh in the basket.
3. Is it really fresh? Prove it!
Search out online shoppers that don’t buy fresh food and add a promotional package to their next delivery basket. For example a couple of fresh apples. Add a note: In our online store fresh means fresh. For a shopper, this will act as a proof of concept. It will encourage her to order something fresh next time she shops online.
4. Join your click and brick forces
In a collect-in-store service model, the customer can shop for fresh items when picking up the groceries ordered online. The delivery basket is ready and waiting, one just needs to add that avocado and chili for the Mexican dinner, things you want to pick by yourself.
Here you combine online and offline in the best of both worlds – you save your customers’ time since they don’t have to wade the aisles for all the items on their list, while they can still handpick fresh foods if they want to. By providing fast track counters (for up to 10 items) for “online” shoppers, your stores will be less crowded and queues at the counters will be shorter.
5. Tell them you care
On top of all the strain of fresh food management in online groceries, you will have to add picking and delivery to the equation. But this is not just about doing it right, it is about communicating right. Explain to your customers that you pick fresh food just before delivery, that the pickers wear gloves and that they choose the fruits with care as if they are picking them for themselves. Give your customers as much assurance as you can.
And yes, online-only discounts work as well:)
Andrej Perc Andrej Perc is a co-founder and managing partner of Creatim. Follow @andr114