When It Comes to Analyzing Retail Shopping Behavior, FARM Delivers


When Amazon’s $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods was announced last June, whose camp were you in? Were you on the side that believed grocery delivery services would cause prices to increase and extinguish jobs at brick and mortar locations? Or, did you view the behemoth transaction as a benefit to communities by creating jobs and improving service through greater convenience?

Fortunately, we’re all entitled to our opinions and ideas that, when shared, often inspire spirited and thoughtful debate. However, when it comes to helping you interpret disruptions and other changing dynamics in your own market, we shelve our hunches and focus on what we know to develop the best strategy for your business to thrive.

At FARM, one of our areas of expertise is retail marketing. But before we can create attention-grabbing television spots, digital ads, and social content, we spend time analyzing shopping behaviors, new market trends, and consumers’ paths to purchasing. Only through these insights can we create an informed plan of action.

Based on our experience in researching consumer behaviors, here are our views on the expanding availability of grocery delivery services:

Pros:

  • Convenience
    This is a big one. Anything a retailer can do make shoppers’ lives easier by significantly streamlining a time-consuming errand—without sacrificing quality—is a win. Even those who live close to their grocery store may be enticed to choose home delivery if it allows them the additional breathing room to check a few other items off their to-do list.
  • Reducing unnecessary spending
    Shopping centers and grocery stores are designed to encourage impulse buys and additional purchases that a shopper may not have intended to make. Grocery delivery services cut down on unnecessary spending by removing the temptation of superfluous purchases and keep shoppers on budget.
  • Ease of Use
    How many times have you obsessed over the ripeness of avocados or the merits of one detergent over another while in the store? Grocery shopping with point-and-click ease facilitates our decision-making and even accelerates future purchases with the option to reorder favorite or routine items.

Cons:

  • Increased cost
    Shoppers are more likely to see an increase in grocery costs due to delivery service fees and product markups to support the infrastructure of home delivery services. To some, these upcharges won’t be worth the added convenience.
  • Lack of social and product interaction
    Grocery shopping online causes shoppers to lose the social interaction that they may typically have on a normal day at the market. They also sacrifice the tactile experience of interacting with items such as meat, fish, and produce before they buy.
  • Non-user-friendly platforms
    Grocery stores need to have a hassle-free online ordering process right out of the gate, but they also need to closely monitor the ongoing customer experience to maintain high service standards. If store platforms don’t evolve with shoppers’ needs and preferences, participation will wane—potentially resulting in customer attrition.

The highly-competitive retail environment coupled with consumers’ increasing demand for immediate gratification have spawned a greater variety of ways for retailers to deliver products, from in-store to online—and even same-day delivery in some cases. While some customers believe in the power of progress, others feel differently. It’s our job to help you see both sides of the argument—from your audience’s perspective—so you can adapt accordingly.

By Matt Cascarino, Executive Creative Director and Melissa Torella, Account Executive

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