The pandemic has had a profound effect on consumer behavior. The way we buy groceries is no exception. When cities locked down, we all moved to online grocery shopping. That goes for Millennials and Gen Xers but also Baby Boomers. In fact, Statista reports that 1/3 of people age 65 plus were moving to online purchases in general due to COVID.
In 2018, only 16% to 17% of older adults had ordered groceries for pickup or delivery according to the AARP and International Food Information Council (IFIC). With the online share of the grocery market rising from 3.4% to 10.2% in 2020 and it being projected to climb from $35.54 billion to $250.26 billion by 2025 according to Supermarket News, it’s time we optimize the experience to be accessible, engaging, and exciting for everyone.
As it stands, it takes three or more orders before seniors are comfortable with online ordering. Older people face many barriers when navigating the world of online grocery shopping including accessibility and readability, user interface rife with difficult-to-click buttons, and weak signposting that makes site navigation treacherous for many. Add to that a lack of confidence in quality (especially for produce) and choice overload, all consumers suffer from decision fatigue and a lack of confidence that leaves them feeling disengaged and frustrated.
Bottom line, there is a vast opportunity for grocers across the spectrum to invite seniors and everyone else into a seamless and delightful shopping experience. From an article first published in Progressive Grocer, BLDG25 in-house experts offer 5 tips to immediately improve the online grocery shopping experience that we’ve simplified here. They are:
Provide Real Guidance
Create enticing guides and tutorials available in store and digitally and support these guides with in-store personal shopper support for assistance and troubleshooting.
Personalize and Bundle
Create personalized online grocery ‘shelves’ with heart-healthy options or meals geared toward a users specific nutritional needs and preferences. Additionally, bundle items together so that a week’s worth of meals are only a few clicks away.
Offer Search that Connects the Dots
Enable recommendations and suggestions based on purchase history both online and in-store to ensure users are not overwhelmed or get lost in search results. Also, use conversational search for voice input employing predictive text so that keyboard input is minimal.
Use clear and concise language. Make required fields and relevant discounts highly visible. Inform customers upfront about any changes made to services and offer to guide them. Offer real live help from store personal shoppers to gain trust and ease transitions.
Test, Test, Test
Keep tweaking, troubleshooting, and listen to your customers as you go forth into this exciting new opportunity to make online grocery shopping even better.
Feel free to reach out about your company’s e-commerce product innovation plans in 2021.
– Chauncey Zalkin with expert reporting from Chris Haire, SVP Client Experience, and Julie Miller, PhD Behavioral Science