Online grocery: How retailers should engage with consumers

FMGC e-commerce is rising exponentially and therefore it is important companies make changes in their online shopping designs to accommodate the requirement of this growing online community.

The digital driven future is where the consumer is always connected and prefers to make all their purchases online. However, it is important to note that while consumers are opting to purchase everything online, they are not yet sold on buying fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) online.

In order to do so, ‘Swipe to Buy’ report prepared by Nielsen is a fantastic resource as it helps shine light on FMCG e-commerce and can coax consumers into buying their products. The report provides details about 3 key aspects that will help to achieve digital retail success.

Exceeding the Consumer’s Expectations

Online consumers are well aware of what they want and will not wander off to other departments like it happens in physical stores. However, online consumers do not have any specific brands in mind and therefore it presents a good opportunity for brands to capture the audience.

Online consumers are conscious of the category rather than their in-store counterparts, but not about the brand and this presents a unique opportunity for brands. To get the consumers to put your product in their basket, price is the biggest driver.

Furthermore, after price it is the convenience factor along with overall shopping experience which motivates the consumer to make a purchase. The report states that factors such as easy checkout, simple returns and helpful product information are important for motivating consumers.

Another very important factor that firms need to address is the delivery time. Faster delivery time is what online consumers are looking at and it is a great area to tap into. Collaboration with local and international delivery companies can forge successful partnerships, delivering goods on time.


When it comes to choosing a product, consumers are not too keen to have too much of variety. They do not want an endless array of products in a digital shelf to choose from. While delivery time, shopping experience etc. were major factors to motivate online consumers, product variety or ‘trying something new’ were not factors which resonated with consumers. Instead what consumers are looking for are personalized, curated researches such that the right product is presented to them. The biggest challenge presented in personalization is that there isn’t just one type of shopper.

The Nielsen report categorizes online shoppers in 7 distinct segments: Digital reluctants (23% of online shoppers) who do not trust e-commerce websites, Digital advocates (15%) who make the most online purchases, Technology averse (12%) who are not tech savvy, Grab and Go (9%) who don’t seek value, Non-Planners (12%) who don’t really enjoy the shopping experience, Tech-savvy value seekers (19%) who are not only tech-savvy but also research driven as are the Researchers (10%).

The Grab and Go, Non-planners and the Digital Advocates are the ones who drive a lot of online spending. Thus when researching and applying digital tools, you will have to keep in mind all these types of shoppers and how the needs and expectations of every shopper differs. Many factors such as ethnicity, region, generation etc. will also influence the consumer’s online buying behavior. Therefore brands will have to develop an individualized plan by keeping an eye on the patterns and providing a truly personalized experience.

Building Connections

Digital retail provides brands to engage and influence the purchasing habits of the consumers. As the Nielsen report indicates, over the last 3 years the number of households making online grocery purchase has grown by 35%. This gives brands the opportunity to engage with their target audience all through the path towards making the purchase, right from research to comparison to purchase.

These engagements will become even more important when digital retail will move towards subscriptions and automated services in future. 18% of items are bought online as part of subscriptions, thus the decision regarding what to purchase is made much before the order is placed.

Thus by engaging the consumers, brands have an opportunity to influence that decision. Consumers today make extensive use of the social media to educate themselves about the brand and it’s product. Therefore brands have the perfect opportunity to engage the audience with rich media.

By taking not of the mentioned key attributes, brands can definitely drive consumers to make purchases that are in their favor.