An insight into e-commerce from The Grocer.

15th September 2017
E-commerce in Grocery

Never ones to miss out on a trend, we were hot off the mark with Mike Shapakers – Vice President of Product Management at ChannelAdvisor’s- most recent insight into e-commerce trends and how they are changing the landscape of grocery shopping.

In our modern, fast-paced society, consumers are increasingly craving that click of a button spontaneity that online shopping provides so seamlessly. But, where do we, as a nation stand on online shopping when it comes to groceries? Well, it turns out that the Brits are big fans of the click and delivered groceries, being one of the countries with the highest proportion of the population who shop online in Europe.

Top of the game in this dog-eat-dog world of e-commerce is inevitably Amazon who are responsible for a sizeable 16% of online shopping in the UK. Scarily, as in other countries, this has the potential to rise to a staggering 80%. Amongst traditional retailers, the indomitable rise of e-commerce is making things significantly more difficult, with retailers having to work even harder to get customers through the doors. Many have been forced to add a touch of theatre to in-store shopping, investing in restaurants, manicure stations and bars to their already substantial offering.

For well-established e-commerce retailers, such as Amazon, there is also a desire to move offline to account for the increasingly widespread millennial trend of reverse showrooming, in which a consumer checks product reviews online before purchasing in store. This is a departure from the showrooming which we are used to seeing, whereby a customer enters the store, gathers information and then buys online. This reverse showrooming has encouraged stores more than ever before to include customer product reviews in store.

Amongst the millennial demographic, there is also a preference towards private labels. This move favours e-commerce traders such as Amazon, who are able to optimise searches to prioritise their own label products, as well as charging a premium for brands who wish to have their products listed first among the search pages.

Despite the rise in e-commerce, the issue of logistics still remains an issue, particularly in the online grocery shopping sector. Delivery times are ultimately the driving factor in consumers’ decision to buy online with many customers rejecting online grocery shopping in favour of instantaneous in-store purchasing. Amazon has been one of the first online retailers to address this issue head on, investing in its own private delivery transportation in order to ensure quicker and more reliable delivery.

However, amid our increasingly Amazon dominated world, e-commerce is also doing great things for small brands who are able to introduce products onto the market more quickly and easily, as well as being able to reach larger audiences using social media. Some small brands are also having huge success as third party sellers.

It would seem that consumers are increasingly craving the spontaneity of online shopping. However, amid the saturated market of e-commerce, it is only the online retailers, who address customer needs in terms of efficiency who can expect to succeed. Failure to do this will result in loss of customers to offline counterparts, or indeed to rival retailers.