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Grocery Ecommerce & Digital Trends: Q&A with featured guest, Forrester senior analyst Scott Compton

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Ben Flaccus Apr 5, 2021
Grocery Research

Guest speaker, Forrester Research senior analyst Scott Compton shares his point of view and predictions on the online grocery shopping, digital marketing, and customer experience trends that will stick around post-pandemic. Scott serves digital business strategy professionals in retail e-commerce, focused on the strategies and technologies for stores and the grocery sector with expertise in customer experience and digital marketing.

And be sure to join us with Scott and SundaySky customer Carina Ost, senior growth marketing manager, social at Albertsons Companies on Thursday, April 22 for our live webinar, Essential Digital Engagement Strategies for Grocery in 2021.

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(1.) The State Of The US Grocery Shopper — COVID-19 research predicts that the new shopper behaviors that are likely to stick around post-pandemic are ones of convenience: those that make consumers’ lives easier and better. What does this tell us about the prioritization of customer experience in the grocery category?

Convenience is the number one factor why people are buying groceries online, followed closely by price considerations. The digital experience is the sticky factor for consumers, so grocers should focus on the omnichannel aspects of their business. If the experience is good, customers will return. In traditional grocery, digital orders were such a sliver of sales that they weren’t prioritized to a large degree. This past year has shown grocers that they need to reprioritize the click-and-collect orders as well as hone predictive delivery. Forrester’s data shows predictability of delivery is more important than speed. Same-day delivery gets lots of press, but aside from convenience/impulse items, predictable and reliable delivery (without a fee) in a day or two is actually what consumers are after.

“The digital experience is the sticky factor for consumers… If the experience is good, customers will return.” — Scott Compton, senior analyst at Forrester Research 

2. There is so much that grocers want to communicate to customers today, such as e-commerce fulfillment methods, payment options, and merchandising messages. How can grocers effectively deliver these messages in a digital, engaging way to meet consumers’ expectations?

“Can I get it when I need it?” and “How do I need to pay for it?” are two questions that need to be answered immediately in a digital experience. Extend this messaging throughout the consumer experience and in the appropriate places (both online and in store). Message these items in context. Fulfillment options should be available long before the actual online cart. I would suggest putting fulfillment content and filters in place throughout search flows, within standard navigation, and on the product detail page. Payment options are like this also; they are definitely worth messaging in the footer, within customer service FAQs and chat scripts, and on the product detail page along with an icon treatment during checkout. They are a gatekeeper to conversion, so grocers need to elevate these messages to enhance conversion paths.

(3.) With the rise of the retailer media network, grocers now have monetization opportunities from their own trove of shopper purchase data. What digital advertising best practices can grocery retailers put in place to ensure an optimal digital media experience for shoppers?  

Connecting the actual ads to the shopper demands for relevancy would be my primary recommendation. Keep the ads relevant. Mine the decades of purchase history most grocers have due to legacy loyalty programs, and make sure those ads and promotions are relevant or you will quickly create banner burnout in your audience. Sync ad targeting with known patterns such as repetitive buys and strong cohorts within other categories. Opening the knowledge gates to your advertisers while still maintaining strict privacy practices about your consumers is the model I would recommend. Allowing advertisers to target your customers based on relevant characteristics is the only way to drive real engagement with the digital shoppers. Focus on localization first and then personalization, and make sure you are addressing consumer needs for price and convenience at all costs. Prioritize the CX over the advertising opportunities for your partners and suppliers.

“Mine the decades of purchase history most grocers have due to legacy loyalty programs, and make sure those ads and promotions are relevant.” — Scott Compton, senior analyst at Forrester Research 

(4.) Print spend is shifting online, and the store circular is going digital. Additionally, SundaySky continues to see strong traction, with grocers applying dynamic, real-time video to their digital circulars to help bring hyperlocal messages to shoppers at scale. What other opportunities do you see for grocers to bring dynamic and even personalized messaging to their shoppers and customers via video?

Get creative! Every category banner and product recommendation is an advertising opportunity. Content development like recipes and meal planning guides have lots of opportunities for video engagement. Recently, we’ve seen videos about cooking instruction, how to pick produce, deciphering labels, and lots of other examples. The ability to bring real-time promos into a video, tailored for a specific localized audience, should not be overlooked. Relevant engagement is one way to win consumer loyalty, and video as a medium continues to be a strong tool when relevancy is prioritized. Retailers will continue to expand in-store opportunities because more shoppers are using their phones to check product info in store, access their loyalty information, and check out with contactless or stored payment methods. I would expect to see video move into the in-store shopping experience more prominently in the next few years, including cooler screens, scan-and-go models, smart carts, and other digital signage.

“The ability to bring real-time promos into a video, tailored for a specific localized audience, should not be overlooked. Relevant engagement is one way to win consumer loyalty.” — Scott Compton, senior analyst at Forrester Research 

Register now to save your spot on Thursday, April 22 for our live webinar, Essential Digital Engagement Strategies for Grocery in 2021

Grocery ecommerce digital trends webinar