Online Grocery Shopping—A Game Changer?

The way Americans shop for groceries is changing. Online food shopping is on the rise, and it is predicted to grow five-fold over the next decade. This is a great opportunity for brands to get their products to consumers. However, with the rise of online shopping, the opportunities to get in front of consumers have been reduced, and the number of these opportunities will continue to diminish. We’re not expecting online shopping to turn the grocery store model on its head, but it will lead to change in how CPG brands market their products. Marketers will have to think outside the box (or outside the grocery store) to get in front of consumers.

Grocery Stores Are Here To Stay

First off, the grocery store model will not become extinct anytime soon. Yes, online grocery shopping is increasing, and will continue to increase. However, the majority of shopping is still done in person. Currently, only 25% of household buy groceries online, and online shopping represents less than 5% of all grocery sales. But the online grocery platform is expected to grow rapidly. So much so, that grocery stores have even adopted digital shopping—tying online ordering with curbside pick up. In this way, they are better able to compete with the convenience of online options.

Landscape For Marketers

Online grocery shopping has provided a challenge for marketers. As powerful as shopper marketing is, it could see a diminished role in an environment where consumers aren’t going into the store. However, marketers can still effectively reach consumers through tried and tested ways—print, digital, social, and face-to-face interactions.

With less frequent opportunities to engage consumers in-store, how can brands reach consumers?

Reaching Consumers In An Increasingly Digital World

In the gold-rush excitement surrounding this seemingly untapped platform, marketers must remember that the digital shopper is still... well, a shopper. These shoppers seek recommendations from trusted sources of information—dietitians, personal trainers, nurses, pediatricians, etc. Through face-to-face influencers, brands can get even more than impactful recommendations. These influencers provide a personal experience with the brand, an increasingly valuable interaction.

Grocery stores are here to stay, and so is shopper marketing. But their roles will change as we move forward. Digital platforms are not only shaping the way people buy their groceries, but also path to purchase. How will your brand reach consumers who are not walking the grocery aisles? How will you influence their online, and offline decisions?