Consumer behaviors are changing, and traditional grocery stores are feeling the pressure. Younger shoppers are ordering groceries online; families rely on the convenience of meal kit delivery services; and many once-loyal customers are now drawn to discount European stores like Lidl, which have recently opened their doors in the United States.
For traditional grocery stores in this competitive landscape, the path to differentiation is digital. According to a recent Deloitte survey, 33% of grocery shoppers already say that digital tools make grocery shopping easier—a statistic that will only increase as physical and digital grocery experiences continue to converge, especially in light of developments such as digital innovator Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods.
Let’s explore what digital-physical convergence in the supermarket looks like in practice, and how it serves as a key part of a forward-looking grocer’s customer experience strategy.
Deloitte estimates that 80% of shoppers have used a digital device to browse or research grocery products, and 29% of grocery consumers have tried products based on online recommendations or reviews. Through innovative customer engagement tools that merge these digital technologies and touchpoints with customers’ physical, in-store surroundings, grocers can streamline the entire shopping experience.
For grocery stores, curated recommendations based on customers’ in-session browsing behaviors are also attuned to the recent trend toward mindful, ingredient-based shopping, which is a popular model for customers who wish to cook at home to increase savings and wellness.
Experiences that bridge the digital-physical divide don’t just take place while a shopper is inside the store; when properly personalized, they can actually draw shoppers into the supermarket in the first place.
This sort of personalized engagement is exactly what customers need to feel like truly empowered consumers. In fact, 77% of surveyed grocery consumers use digital touchpoints—primarily the store’s website and app—to purposefully drive their own awareness of products and deals offered.
Grocery stores can create the type of converged experience outlined in this example with the help of Wi-Fi monitoring and other location-based technologies. When integrated with a Customer Engagement Platform, these tools allow stores to recognize when a customer has entered within range of their location and then push the customer a message that is engineered to resonate with their current context and mindset, or “influence zone.”
Convergence should also be considered part of a larger sales and customer experience strategy, designed to deliver targeted saving tools for customers as well as revenue-boosting tactics for grocery stores.
This convergence of digital and physical experiences to promote sales often results in higher revenue for grocery stores—19% of the time, the use of digital actually increases overall grocery spending.
Plus, grocery stores can be strategic about when, where, and how they choose to promote sales to customers. In this particular case, the store may be faced with an inventory overflow and needs to sell their excess tomatoes before they ripen.
The convergence of digital and physical experiences in the grocery store is already revolutionizing grocer’s customer experience strategy and the way that shoppers interact with food providers, and this trend will only more gain traction as grocery stores work to keep up with the “Amazon Effect” driven by today’s most engaging, customer-centric brands and enterprises.
Learn more about how ZineOne’s Customer Engagement Hub is blending digital and physical engagement so grocery and convenience stores can deliver the tailored experiences that matter to their customers.