Adapting grocery retail for the mobile customer does present a number of challenges.
As shopping habits change in line with the availability of better technology, faster connectivity, improved usability and the proliferation of responsive web design, the standard for what consumers consider a satisfying ecommerce experience on mobile is becoming a high one to match.
Savvy Marketing has recently published a report on the digital shopper landscape in which it surveys 1,000 consumers on their ecommerce habits.
It reveals the technology and functionality that shoppers expect retailers and brands to provide currently or in the very near future.
71% of UK shoppers currently own a smartphone and 78% say that they will own one by the end of 2014. The smartphone is of course the key enabler of our expectations.
We have the whip-fast and super-smooth technology, so it’s frustrating when we don’t get the complimentary experience from the online stores we visit.
Consumers believe they should be able to perform all basic shopping tasks with their smartphones, including collecting and storing vouchers to searching for product information.
Tablet ownership is also expected to continue its sharp rise in ownership in 2014, with 71% of consumers expected to own one by the end of the year (the same figure that currently owns a smartphone). This is up from the current figure of 59%.
Currently more than 40% of online adults are multi-device users. Tablets are the go to online device in the home, thanks to its large screen, quick start-up and always-on connection.
Smartphone use is principally focused on finer detailed, practical tasks such as finding stores, opening times, product information and prices. Tablets are typically used for longer periods of inspiration and research.
As smartphones and tablets are reaching mass penetration, the generation that only knows the world with the internet is reaching maturity and will comprise the entire mainstream shopping audience.
These shoppers understand the full potential of smartphones and tablets, and are able to see the benefits that digital technology could offer to make their lives easier when planning and buying their food and groceries. This is where disparity and frustration arises.
In terms of what shoppers find the most appealing, 65% find the idea of receiving targeted vouchers to their phones attractive.
Digital vouchers or coupons have the extra appeal of being highly personalised, timely and much more convenient than paper vouchers.
64% of shoppers would also find the concept of receiving vouchers while they are actually shopping in-store appealing. This will become a large part of the shopping experience with the introduction of iBeacon technology to stores.
The research seems to suggest that shoppers trust retailers more than brands when it comes to being sent targeted promotions directly to their smartphones.
Shoppers already trust grocers with their personal information through various loyalty schemes and they are used to being targeted by them. There’s also the natural relationship that’s built from shoppers who visit a retailer’s store on a regular basis.
Digital initiatives are gradually finding their way into grocery retailers’ stores. As well as the standard necessity of in-store Wi-Fi, many are experimenting with other technologies.
Sainsbury’s has introduced a Scan & Go service, where customers can scan their shopping with a smartphone along the way and pay for it after scanning a checkout QR code. Tesco is also trialling iBeacons technology in its Chelmsford branch.
Now more than ever it’s imperative for grocers to catch up with other retailers in the mobile digital world. Especially with the fact that entirely online based retailers such as Amazon are introducing increasingly convenient ways for us to shop from our own homes.