Consumer expectations shifted dramatically at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Grocery retailers scrambled to keep up with new and urgent considerations of health and safety that needed quick, effective solutions. This sometimes meant overhauling the idea of what it means to be a grocery store: Implementing immediate structural change for a fast and safe shopping experience, managing rising anxieties surrounding exposure, and adjusting to escalated demand for basic necessities like paper products, bottled water, hand sanitizer, and non-perishables. Rapid, too, was the growing necessity of online purchasing options and efficient processes for both grocery delivery and curbside-pickup services. The response was unprecedented, and has changed the way consumers grocery shop—perhaps forever. The consumer of now requires attention paid to incentivisation through loyalty and reward programs; focus on individualized marketing and advertising; monitoring and analysis of consumer behavior; and, as ever, high quality customer service.
Innumerable factors influence consumer loyalty. The in-store experience, personalization, value alignment, and reward programs all play a large role in retaining loyal customers. Developing customer loyalty for your business is imperative to staying competitive in the brick-and-mortar market. Repeat purchases are becoming more important than ever in order to stay afloat, and the retailers that do the best job of giving their customers a personalized, seamless omnichannel shopping experience that reflects their brand values will come out on top.
Why do customers stop shopping at your store? Check out our resource on the top three reasons:
Marketing & Advertising
Marketing should focus on company values while speaking to the target audience in accessible, relevant, and engaging language. Whether marketing is physical, digital, visual, word-of-mouth, or in-person and in-store, it should contain consistent verbiage, message, and appeal. Grocers can grow their consumer base and retain loyal customers through signage, incentivisation, and education incorporated with advertising or marketing campaigns.
The In-Store Experience
It should come as no surprise that customer service ranks high among factors a consumer considers when choosing where to grocery shop. Just like phenomenal customer service, an exceptional and positive shopping experience is best practice when wanting to keep shoppers coming back.
Check out these resources to learn more about improving the in-store experience:
As the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic taught the grocery industry, consumer habits and expectations are constantly changing. Perhaps the greatest shift in pandemic-era shopping has been the surge in online grocery; now more than ever, consumers are looking for convenience, safety, and accuracy with grocery ordering, pickup, and delivery. Though consumers will likely return in larger numbers to physical stores as pandemic concerns abate, those who appreciate the convenience and accessibility of online shopping will continue to do so. Retailers should plan to rise to this expectation.
Check out our latest Consumer Report Survey to dive into the state of post-pandemic grocery:
Check out these blog posts on customer service topics:
Wellness is the buzzword of the month around this time of year as people set goals to hit the gym, eat healthier, and focus on their mental health. The new year gives us each an opportunity to imagine a better version of ourselves and put plans into place to make that happen. As a grocer, you’re perfectly primed to help your customers achieve their goals instead of giving up on them by February like 80% of the population.
As we celebrate Earth Day on April 22, we might also consider taking stock of how our habits reflect a commitment to sustainability. Consumers have certainly been taking stock of retailer dedication to sustainable practices. The impetus—and expectation—to focus on sustainability has skyrocketed, and will continue to: 85% of consumers in the U.S. and the United Kingdom expect companies to invest in sustainability. So how can grocery retailers keep up? Clear development of and participation in sustainability initiatives is the answer.
Grocery shopping is no longer just an in-store experience. According to the Coresight Research U.S. Online Grocery Survey of 2020, online grocery sales grew 40 percent in 2020 and 19 percent in 2019. The survey found that of 1,152 consumers polled, 52 percent had bought groceries online in the past 12 months; this was the first time that more than half of respondents had done so and is more than twice the number of shoppers from just two years ago.