Online groceries in the bag

Shopping online for groceries is growing in popularity and customers are impressed with those services on offer

Analysts claim that within five years, ten per cent of the UK’s £120bn-a-year grocery market could be swallowed up by home delivery. There have been mixed results from grocery retailers that have ventured into home delivery. While Tesco Direct has flourished, Somerfield 24-7, Budgens Direct and Marks & Spencer Direct have shelved their services. The main reason such ventures have failed is that retailers have failed to focus on home shopping’s target market.

OMD Snapshots was commissioned to research the experiences of those who shop online for groceries, what their expectations were, and the reasons why those who have the means to shop online have yet to try it. Out of the panel of 2,500 online respondents, 21 per cent of them had shopped online for groceries. A further 27 per cent claimed they intended to do so in the next 12 months.

Over 50 per cent of online grocery shoppers said they used the service because it is quicker and more convenient than visiting the store. A further 20 per cent did it because they enjoyed shopping online, perhaps further supporting recent reports of addiction to Internet shopping. Lack of suitable transport was cited as a reason by eight per cent of respondents.

The online grocery shoppers were asked to rate their experience. Although most respondents were impressed by supermarket websites, only one-third were extremely satisfied with the range of products available. About 20 per cent were unhappy with the accuracy of their order, while a surprising 75 per cent were satisfied with delivery times. Overall, the rating for grocery shopping online was positive.

The main reason for those who have resisted grocery shopping online was that they simply prefer to shop in store, with 52 per of respondents indicating this. The delivery charge deterred 20 per cent of respondents from grocery shopping online, while credit card security is still an issue for ten per cent of respondents.

Respondents were united in what would encourage them to try online grocery shopping: guaranteed delivery and special offers that would not be available in the store.

Those who are grocery shopping online have a positive view of it. Retailers need to concentrate on product ranges and better value for those consumers opting for home delivery. Building awareness of which stores offer home shopping is also needed. Although 98 per cent of those who grocery shop online were aware of Tesco Direct, there was a much lower awareness of the other major grocery retailers offering home delivery.

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