The Online Shoppers’ Journey

The Online Shoppers’ Journey

December 4, 2019
Annette Maggi
Retail Industry Insights

By RDBA Executive Director Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

In 2019, a retail grocery trend constantly covered in the news was online shopping – which consumers are doing it, who isn’t doing it, what products they purchase vs. don’t purchase, etc. What hasn’t been well researched is the online shoppers’ path-to-purchase including the decisions they make and actions they take along the journey. A small study by Field Agent (451 digital shoppers who spent at least $30 online for delivery or pick-up) examines the process in detail and shares a variety of interesting insights, including those detailed here.

- The Shopping List is still a valued tool. Interestingly, 55% of survey respondents indicate they still create a shopping list, and of these, 69% indicate they put pen to paper to do so. Others simply remember what they need or repeat purchases from a previous online order. 

  • Opportunity for Retail RDNs: This high use of shopping lists creates opportunities for retail RDNs to create varying shopping lists for consumers to use – healthy snack items, in season produce, or frozen or canned staples to keep on hand for quick-and-easy meals. Share these lists in social, include them as “RDN Recommendations” in your retailers’ online shopping environment, or distribute at community events.

- Done in one session. Nearly 70% of online shoppers indicate they sit down and order everything at one time; just ten percent indicate three or more sessions and only seven percent indicate they completed shopping through “auto fill” type programs. 

  • Opportunity for Retail RDNs: Partner with your e-commerce team to create bundles of products online, such as healthy, convenient breakfast options, or “cook once eat twice” recipe concepts that cover two meals. 

- Top online categories are fresh produce (65% of online shoppers), chilled dairy products (65%), salty snacks (38%), fresh meat (34%), and canned foods (33%). 

  • Opportunity for Retail RDNs: Using attribute labeling, “RDN Approved” tags, or similar tools, highlight options in each of these categories that are the most nutrient-dense. Ensure the most nutritious options in each category rise to the top of the list in search features. If a shopper puts a particular item into their online cart, offer suggestions of a pairing or recipe. 

- Online and in-store combined for full grocery run. This survey found that 59% of online shoppers plan to do an in-store trip to complete all their grocery purchases. Seventy percent will buy fresh produce on this trip, with 36% indicating they do not buy produce online as they prefer to inspect it. Interestingly, 37% buy in-store products from a different retailer than their online purchases and 33% want to take advantage of sales or coupons.

  • Opportunity for Retail RDNs: As produce is a key in-store purchase for the online shopper, provide tips for selecting the right produce for the shopper’s needs, whether they are using it today, tomorrow or in several days. Suggest frozen, dried and canned fruits and vegetables on your e-commerce sight, highlighting ideal uses for these alternate forms.

Online grocery shopping will definitely continue as a trend in 2020, creating growing opportunities for retail RDNs to drive health and wellbeing messaging and guidance in this platform.

Note: Click here to access the full Field Agent study.