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November 29, 2016

According to the Wall Street Journal, millennials spend about $500 less on groceries than buyers in other demographics. Many individuals in this demographic are looking to cut costs and increase convenience. As a result, they're turning to online grocery shopping. Statista reports that online grocery shopping accounted for $7 billion in transactions in the United States in 2015—a number that is expected to skyrocket to $20 billion by 2020.
The evolving food shopping habits of millennials shouldn't leave supermarkets without hope, however, and we're approaching the perfect season to experiment with new strategies. Waze traffic pattern data shows that consumers make more trips to the grocery store during the holiday season. With this seasonal shift in consumer behavior, how can grocers leverage this moment of need to boost awareness?

Embrace Smartphone Apps for Preordering
If buyers are increasingly shifting to online delivery for convenience, innovative retailers have to find ways to make their experience more convenient. Grocery stores are likely located closer to the shopper than wherever their food ships from, so it's possible to develop a time advantage. With a smartphone app, a buyer can place an order for the ingredients they need for dinner and then stop by the store to pick them up. The keys to success are a user-friendly smartphone app, a short window for order fulfillment, and a focus on smooth in-store order pickups. Attract busy consumers during the holiday season by showcasing these services, and let in-store patrons know that these options exist during the holidays and beyond.

Partner With Delivery ServicesOther retailers are exploring how partnerships with delivery services like Instacart can take convenience to the next level. In addition to allowing consumers to place their orders on smartphones or tablets, retailers should consider whether home delivery is an option. Ideally, your arsenal should include same-day and emergency delivery options (which your target consumers' online delivery service likely can't offer).

Use Location-Aware Services to Connect and Convert

Whether they're hosting an event, forgot a critical ingredient for a dinner party, or need a contribution for a potluck, it's likely that your consumer is heading to an event that involves food. Consider using location-based advertising to give them a convenient option to stop and make a purchase between here and there. Location-based advertising—such as in-app notifications that a grocery store is nearby—help companies to attract customers.

Another strategy to capture foot traffic and showcase the benefits of shopping in store is to use location-based promotions that can drive conversions. For example, when a customer walks by, consider offering them a discount that's good for the next hour on a certain kind of purchase. Strategically promoting certain brands can help make millennials and other buyers realize that retailers are carrying modern, relevant selections.

Evolving food shopping habits are creating challenges for the grocery market, yet they are offering the opportunity to expand with convenience models, new business models, and technology. Take advantage of the spike in consumers during the holiday season to connect with buyers and make them aware of the services you offer.

≥≥ Need a Shortcut?
1. As millennials focus on savings and convenience, they're using delivery services more than they're shopping in traditional grocery stores.
2. Waze original data shows that millennials are stopping in stores more frequently between Thanksgiving and New Year's. Grocers can seize the opportunity to connect with this audience.
3. Smart strategies include focusing on using apps for preordering and in-store pickup, rapid delivery, and location-aware promotions.
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