Amazon Outscores Walmart and Supermarkets in Online Grocery
By Brian Numainville / October 2017Insights
The Retail Feedback Group recently released its first study of online grocery shoppers, the 2017 U.S. Online Grocery Shopper Study. This study provides a wealth of information about how online grocery shoppers view their experience and provides some much-needed benchmarks. Below is a synopsis of the key takeaways from this study!
Online grocery shopping continues to gather momentum with consumers. Nearly half of shoppers surveyed indicated they will purchase grocery items online “more often” in the coming year, with the vast majority of the balance (46%) saying they will purchase online grocery items at “about the same” frequency.
A wide range of supermarket type items are now purchased online. Grocery, HBC and nonfoods represent the top supermarket type merchandise areas from which items are bought online by more than half of shoppers but a quarter or more of online grocery shoppers purchase items from a range of departments throughout the store.
Amazon leads the field. Amazon shoppers report higher repeat usage, score Amazon higher on overall satisfaction and give significantly higher scores than Supermarket/Food store shoppers on the majority of elements (and show significantly higher scores than Walmart shoppers on six elements) of the online grocery shopping experience. Amazon shoppers also give more “highly likely” to recommend scores than either Walmart or Supermarket/Food Store Shoppers. Clearly Amazon has effectively leveraged its deep roots in online retailing to inform their efforts in online grocery and will only continue to improve as they integrate additional grocery knowledge from the acquisition of Whole Foods.
Walmart shoppers’ “highly satisfied” ratings on four items are significantly higher than those of Supermarkets/Food Stores. Two are basic “blocking and tackling” of the online experience – “the online checkout process worked well and without problems” and “there was an available pickup or delivery time that was convenient for me.” The other two areas reinforce Walmart strengths – “ease of identifying sale or special prices and having them applied at checkout” and “overall receiving good value for money paid for the order.” Walmart shoppers, however, don’t score Walmart more highly satisfied than Amazon shoppers score Amazon on any element of online grocery shopping.
Supermarkets/Food Stores need to focus and improve. Given the above findings regarding Amazon and Walmart in the online grocery shopping space, Supermarket/Food Store retailers need to examine their operations and use this study as a benchmark towards improvement.
Key generations are generally similar in overall and various element satisfaction scores. Not much difference found in how Millennial, Gen X and Boomers rate their overall satisfaction with online grocery shopping. On specific elements of the experience, Boomers scored three areas significantly higher than Millennials– “order pickup or delivery process was prompt and efficient”, “items received met my standards for quality and freshness”, and “checkout staff or delivery driver was knowledgeable and professional.”
In‐store shopping and online shopping for groceries have distinct strengths. Online grocery shopping strengths identified by shoppers were efficient use of time and convenience while in‐store strengths covered quality, selection, service and value. In‐store retailers can’t, however, be complacent as online providers could reshape these areas and negate some of these current advantages.
Produce is the top area falling short of meeting shopper standards for freshness and quality. Given that freshness and quality are of strongest importance for those shoppers who do buy produce online, coupled with wanting to choose it themselves and freshness concerns as reasons people don’t buy produce online, produce is an important area of focus going forward.
*Grocery retailers, food distributors and media outlets can obtain a free copy of the full report or request an interview / presentation of the results from the principals of Retail Feedback Group at firstname.lastname@example.org. The study is based on a nationally representative sample of 760 respondents who shopped online for food and groceries.
Contributed by Brian Numainville, PRC – Principal, Retail Feedback Group
Brian joined Retail Feedback Group (RFG) in 2012 after more than 18 years with Nash Finch Company where he led market research, public relations and its charitable foundation. In his role at RFG, Brian partners with food retailers and wholesalers across the U.S. on a wide range of research and feedback initiatives to help them foster a listening culture. He is the co-author of “Feedback Rules,” as well as a frequent speaker and commentator online, and at events for organizations such as the National Grocers Association (NGA), the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), and the Minnesota Grocers Association (MGA). Brian also spent many years as chair of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Consumer Market Research Committee and as a member of the Program Leadership Board at the University of Minnesota Food Industry Center.