Grocers looking to boost customers’ loyalty may need to turn their focus to their digital offerings, according to data from PYMNTS’ study “Decoding Customer Affinity: The Customer Loyalty to Merchants Survey 2022.”
The report, created in collaboration with Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions, featured the results of a census-balanced survey of more than 2,000 U.S. consumers. It revealed that online shoppers are significantly more loyal merchants than their brick-and-mortar counterparts, frequenting fewer brands.
Get the report: The Customer Loyalty to Merchants Survey 2022
Specifically, while more than a third of eGrocery customers make purchases from just one merchant, only 16% of physical shoppers do the same. Similarly, while 63% of digital shoppers buy from two or fewer merchants, 52% of their physical counterparts do the same. Conversely, whereas only 36% of eGrocery customers shop from three or more brands, 48% of brick-and-mortar shoppers do the same.
Some of this disparity may be accounted for by the fact that grocers have, in the past couple of years, grown smarter about how they use consumer data to keep consumers coming back.
“[There’s now] the expectations that your online grocer understands you, the expectation that they save you time, the expectation that the next time you come there, they’re able to really offer you a better reflection of what you need, as opposed to the same patterns that you would see in a physical grocery store,” Alex Weinstein, chief digital officer at online grocer Hungryroot, told PYMNTS in an interview. “If in 2020 the typical purchasing pattern was going to your online grocery destination and pressing the reorder button, today consumers want more. They want variety. They want recommendations.”
Additionally, PYMNTS’ 2021 study “What Consumers Expect From Their Grocery Shopping Experiences,” created in collaboration with ACI Worldwide, found that 76% of grocery’s online shoppers are motivated by the ease and convenience of the channel. Plus, 57% cite the speed of the channel as a reason, and 53% cite previous positive experiences with it.
Grocers are becoming more adept at securing their online customers’ loyalty, driving adoption of direct ordering channels instead of outsourcing sales to marketplaces such as Instacart or the many restaurant aggregators that have entered the grocery space.
“Retailers are moving away from the marketplaces and understanding that in order for them to win, they need to own their customer relationship and their customer data,” Mendel Gniwisch, executive vice president of Business Development at grocery eCommerce, picking and fulfillment solution stor.ai, said in an interview with PYMNTS. “And I think the focus that the retailers have, when looking for solutions, … is which company can help me not only sell online … but actually fulfill the orders profitably, whether that’s with applications in-store or with automation, robotics and things like that.”