Online Marketing has Become the Final Frontier for Grocery Retailers

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

grocery-store-mobile-marketingWhile the internet and ecommerce have dominated and changed many industries, there are some sectors that have proved harder to break into. However, even in some of these areas, online marketing and sales are starting to make an impact. A recent study focused on the changes happening among grocery retailers and how online marketing has become the final frontier for these stores.

PowerReviews recently research paper titled, “Beyond the Supermarket Shelves: How consumers are navigating the grocery shopping experience online and in-store”. This report examines the changing landscape for grocery retailers and provides recommendations for retailers to better attract, convert and retain grocery shoppers across channels, in an increasingly competitive space.

“Traditional retailers have been grappling with the effects of e-commerce for several years. The Amazon effect continues to put pressure on revenue, operations and shopper expectations. We are beginning to see a similar pattern in the grocery marketplace,” said Matt Moog, chief executive officer, PowerReviews. “Although the vast majority of shoppers (90%) still opt to visit a brick and mortar store, grocery retailers have a perfect opportunity to get ahead of what promises to be a disruptive trend and build an omnichannel grocery strategy that effectively engages shoppers wherever they’re shopping.”

Whether or not it’s worth it for a grocery retailer to use online ads depends greatly on the size of the potential audience. On the whole, only 17% of shoppers are purchasing their groceries online. Of those online shoppers, 92% have also made an in-store grocery purchase in the last 90 days. So while it’s relatively small percentage of shoppers who buy groceries online, those that do, do so fairly regularly.

A mere 17 percent of shoppers may seem like it’s not worth pursuing, but it’s important to keep in mind that online grocery shopping would be more effective in larger areas. According to the study, nearly a one in four (23%) consumers living in a city with a population of 500,000 or more have made an online grocery purchase in the last 90 days, compared to 10% of consumers who reside in towns with a population of less than 50,000.

Clearly, people are more likely to buy different items when shopping online compared to the sort of things they buy when shopping in-store. According to the PowerReviews study, when it comes to purchasing items online, shelf-stable goods are the most popular (58%) compared to 49% of shoppers who purchase personal care items (such as soap, shampoo and body wash) and 45% purchase home care items (such as detergent and cleaners).

Besides getting people to shop online, another way grocery retailers can use online marketing to increase revenue is to use their online offerings to make the in-store shopping experience better. Two out of three (68%) of in-store grocery shoppers are at least somewhat interested in accessing product ratings and reviews while shopping for new products in a grocery store. Similarly, the majority (52 percent) are more likely to purchase a grocery item they’ve never purchased before if the product has reviews.

Just as it remains unlikely that people will be able to get their car repaired over the internet, it’s hard to imagine a situation where the internet replaces all grocery stores. Regardless, the business owners who are willing to embrace this final frontier of grocery store marketing, they will be able to boost sales and attract new customers by reaching out to a sizeable audience that is often ignored by other retailers.

For more recent data that can help business owners create better marketing campaigns, read this article on choosing when to use social media for marketing campaigns.


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