How does the shopper fit into your online category plan?

by Lesley Mace

Are you focussing on the shopper when building your category online?

29% of UK shoppers buy groceries online and the United Kingdom forecasted to become the second largest online grocery market worldwide after China by 2020. Building your category growth online is as important as the store, but you need an alternative approach.

Online shoppers all behave differently when it comes to buying their food.

If I look at my own circumstances – I have 5 teenagers in the house and we’re well into the summer holidays so there is a never ending stream of bodies to feed and stomachs to fill. Never mind the alcohol bill!

While I love food – looking, preparing and especially eating it, my shopping journey depends entirely on what I’m looking to buy. It varies between bargain cupboard fillers, meal ideas, household stock up, usual staples, Friday night treats etc.
Then I choose my Grocer – based on price, quality, delivery slot. Forget any loyalty!
And I probably change update my basket 15 times before delivery.

Your dream shopper!!

Here’s a slide from analyst McKinsey, presented at a recent IGD (Institute of Grocery Distribution) digital conference where, in the UK, they state there are 4 kinds of shoppers – oh and the fifth – who doesn’t fit into any box.

What does that have to do with building your category? Well firstly online shoppers are erratic, impulsive on mobile, love their favourites lists and search is a big one. But if you take the time to understand the shopper you can prepare your online strategy. Let’s use the types from McKinsey:
+ The Optimiser is likely to have multiple baskets running – will log in several times to add basket items – by being visible ‘at the store front ie the logged in home page you’re more likely to be seen and bought
+ The Scrambler – not sure what they want – so why not show meal solutions to help them make easy and convenient decisions
+ The Experimenter – they have lots in the house – why not offer premium curated products
+ The Artist – they’re after fresh and quality – setting up daily alerts will help them find your brand

When you look at your category – by grocer – you need to plan your growth. It will take continued investment and analysis – but being close to the shopper at the point of purchase will help you to succeed.

The graph below outlines overall category percentage for a retailer (dark blue line) and 4 competing brands within it. Working on what differentiates your brand will taking you into a leading role – whether that’s product image, price, location on the digital shelf.

You need to be prepared to work on being visible – where you can intercept shopping missions or certainly inspire them to buy your products, where previously they could be buying someone else’s.

Look to grocers who use tech to bring speed and agility to the to online media – ensuring relevant product positioning, who are open to new ideas to attract the shopper and where you have transparency of data.

If you don’t understand the shopper and their online habits by individual grocer then you’re very likely to be missing a trick. Are you doing enough to capture the online shopper? If not, please get in touch – I’d love to have a conversation.