E-commerce Takes Centre Stage At Groceryshop 2018
Updated: Jun 12, 2020
It's old news that grocery lags behind other retail sectors when it comes to e-commerce. Not just that, but the US lags behind the likes of the UK and South Korea in terms of online grocery adoption. Still, at this week's Groceryshop conference in Las Vegas, e-commerce took centre stage.
If this projection becomes a reality, it will mean a significant jump in US online grocery adoption in a very short period of time. No surprise then that e-commerce was such a hot topic at GroceryShop 2018.
Consumer data breeds customers
What's clear from the various panel discussions and presentations at Groceryshop is that grocery retailers and CPG brands are not willing to sit back and wait for online grocery consumers to come to them. Competition is stiff in the grocery sector, and much of the discussion centred around the importance of customer data.
Interestingly, grocery retailers seem to be moving beyond the idea of using data to simply personalise product selection and special offers, and are now embracing personalisation strategies that help build real and lasting relationships with their customers.
How are they doing this? Through content. One of the clear messages to come from Groceryshop 2018 is that content is at the forefront of grocery retailers' and CPG companies' minds when it comes to building relationships with consumers and fostering loyalty.
Curating better content
One of the more interesting presentations on the subject of content and building relationships came from Nina Barton, President of Global Digital Online Growth at Kraft Heinz. It's clear that Kraft Heinz is positioning itself as a solution based food producer, taking on the meal journey from the inspiration stage right through to the kitchen table and solving the 'what's for dinner?' question for busy Americans. Given that 52% of consumers say that deciding what to make is the most difficult part of getting dinner on the table, and meal planning takes 40 minutes per week, this is a smart, data-driven move.
According to Barton though, better content curation is required. Consumers are inundated with so much data that it begins to lose meaning. Think about the last time you searched for recipe inspiration online. How many websites and recipes did you sift through in order to find a reliable recipe that used ingredients you had to hand? It's time-consuming and at times frustrating. The aim for grocery retailers and CPGs is to use the content they have carefully curated to present the right recipe to the right consumer at the right time and create a seamless process while increasing basket value.
Grocery as a solution
Kraft Heinz is not alone in this. Grocery retailers and CPGs are quickly realising that grocery shopping is about more than just the individual products. When we shop for groceries, we're planning, creating and inspiring our next meal. Each product is part of a bigger picture - a solution, according to Chicory's Yuni Sameshima at Groceryshop. For grocery retailers that are ready to fully embrace e-commerce, it's important to position themselves as a one-stop shop for meal planning solutions. Strategies such as shoppable recipe content are part of this solution. The first step to widespread e-commerce adoption is creating a seamless online shopping experience. By providing fresh recipes inspiration alongside a 'buy ingredients now' button, retailers are solving a genuine issue for time-poor shoppers.
This is not just an issue for grocery retailers. CPGs are under pressure, sometimes from retailers themselves, to provide additional content that complements their products. For some, this means taking the Direct-To-Consumer route. For others, it means partnering with grocery retailers to curate branded content. Either way, according to Enjoy Life's Joel Warady, CPGs need to take ownership of their own story, presenting their brand values in a way that resonates with consumers.
Digital is already taking hold
Although e-commerce adoption is low in the grocery sector, there were signs at Groceryshop that digital channels already heavily influence grocery shopping. Narayan Iyengar, SVP of Digital and E-commerce at Albertsons, revealed that 62% of visits to Albertsons are planned using at least one digital tool.
Not only that, but Pinterest's Arthur Sevilla shared the surprising news that Pinterest influences grocery shopping for 54% of consumers. Could this mean shoppable recipes on Pinterest are a logical next step?
The meal kit problem
Finally, pivoting from e-commerce slightly and into the world of subscription commerce, the most interesting statistic at Groceryshop came from Plated, whose meal kit subscription retention rate is the stuff of horrors. No surprise then that the focus for meal kit companies seems to be firmly on an in-store offering.