Today, sellers need to meet consumers at any time – from stores to online platforms | So Good News


In their online operations, retailers can focus on non-perishables while using the store to focus on products that people want to see, touch and choose for themselves.

New Delhi: Grocery shopping is an organized culture. Indian consumers shop for food, especially fresh produce, at mom-and-pop stores and supermarkets, which was the norm despite the pandemic.

According to a recent Mintel survey on grocery shopping, more than five in 10 Indians, out of 3,000 Indian internet users aged 18+ surveyed for the survey, prefer to buy new/premium products in-store rather than online. The common theme here is that consumers want to see and choose these products in person before they buy them.

At the same time, 79% of consumers agree that shopping online is easier than shopping in a store. The epidemic has forced shoppers to stay indoors for months and many of them are afraid to visit shopping centers and malls. Therefore, embedding e-commerce in consumers’ lives in a way that adds value by offering integrated and seamless shopping opportunities has become important for retailers.

Non-perishable and bulky items rule in online shopping carts

Non-perishable food brands (such as organic foods) are ideal for doing well online. The diversity of non-perishable foods compared to frozen foods reflects consumers’ concern for freshness and quality throughout the shipping process.

Retailers with brick-and-mortar and online services can leverage e-commerce as a complementary tool. The latter can focus on the non-perishable while using the former to buy things that people want to see, touch and choose for themselves.

Another reason consumers prefer to shop online is the ease with which they can order bulky/heavy items such as beverages and packaged/canned foods. According to the same Mintel survey, five out of 10 male Indian consumers will buy bagged/canned food online, according to their retail trends revealed in the last three months before January 2022.

Non-drinkers can help with the purchase by recommending foods that go well with the purchased beverage. Visual cues such as ‘you can buy again’ or ‘repurchased’ can encourage consumers to look for non-perishable categories.

In addition, this shows how the beverage category can be where multichannel manufacturers try to adapt to the Internet in order to create another opportunity in the store with the shelf.

Try a hybrid version

The pandemic has forced some retailers to experiment with hybrid shopping methods that give customers more control over their product choices while also allowing them to shop faster. As a result, solo shoppers, curbside rides, and sidewalks are on the rise.

In the US, for example, customers can add Starbucks products to their online orders from big box store Target and have them delivered on the go. Customers can do this in the same app and show where they are on the way to ensure freshly brewed coffee.

In India, tele-ordering is common in neighborhood and kirana stores. More than a third of Indians during the pandemic switched to cheaper ways to buy groceries. It will be beneficial to see major retailers helping consumers (especially older people) to order remotely without using a computer.

Meet consumers at every touch point

Not all categories are created equal regarding in-store versus online shopping. Finding more products is one of the main reasons for online shopping for almost half of Indians. In comparison, 76% still find in-store shopping more enjoyable than online shopping.

To adapt to these shopping trends, retailers need to view in-store shopping as a social hub for customers, and online shopping can be a catalyst. A hybrid model that supports online experiences and online tools (or vice versa) can ensure that brands are present at every touch point.

The Mintel Trend Who Needs Humans shows the growing trend of technology in sales. Therefore, taking advantage of e-commerce to improve the grocery supply chain will require investing in technology and adopting new technologies as they arrive. In this way, retailers allow consumers to use both channels seamlessly based on their evolving needs.

The author is Senior Lifestyle Research Analyst, Mintel Reports India


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