How Grocery Retailers can Better Connect with Today’s Shoppers Across Channels

Once upon a time, when a family ran out of milk, bread and eggs, the parents had no choice but to load up the kids into the family car and drive to the local grocery store to restock. Fast forward to today, when consumers have a growing number of online grocery store options.

Though the majority of grocery purchases today happen within the four walls of a brick-and-mortar store, online grocery shopping is a trend that’s expected to grow. In fact, an analyst at Cowen predicts that online grocery sales will increase from $71 billion this year to $177 billion in 2022.

Clearly, the way consumers shop for groceries is evolving—and will continue to do so as more online grocery shopping options emerge. PowerReviews recently surveyed more than 1,000 American consumers to better understand how they’re navigating the grocery shopping process. Check out the infographic below for a snapshot of the study’s key findings. Then read on for six recommendations for grocery retailers to meet the needs of today’s consumers in order to compete—and win—in an increasingly competitive space.

Online Grocery Shopper Information


Six Recommendations for Grocery Retailers

  1. Feature Ratings and Reviews on In-Store Signage
    Grocery shoppers want access to reviews while they’re shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. And they don’t want to look hard to find them. In fact, more than half of in-store grocery shoppers prefer to find ratings and reviews on store signage.

    If you have physical store locations, start displaying your review content in-store to help your shoppers make smart purchase decisions. Displaying review content doesn’t have to be a big investment. Simply feature star ratings and customer reviews on signs alongside your products — similar to what Amazon does at their bookstores. Doing this has the power to drive additional sales, since more than half of in-store shoppers are more likely to purchase a grocery item they’ve never purchased before if there are reviews for that product.

    Amazon Customer Review Example

  2. Include Ratings and Reviews on Your Website and Mobile Apps
    In addition to seeking review content on store signage, both online and in-store grocery shoppers want to find this content on retail websites and mobile apps. If you haven’t already, develop a strategy to collect plenty of reviews for plenty of your products. Then, make this content easy to access on your website and your mobile app. Consumers are actively looking for this content for a wide range of grocery products, from non-perishable items to fresh foods.

  3. Leverage Sampling to Generate Reviews
    Product sampling is certainly not a new concept for grocery brands and retailers. But while sampling campaigns have traditionally been a tactic to get shoppers to try — then buy — your products, product sampling is also an effective way to generate ratings and reviews.

    More than half of in-store shoppers and nearly a quarter of online shoppers are more likely to purchase a grocery item they’ve never purchased before if they can find review content for those products. So work with your ratings and reviews provider to send samples of new products — or products in need of additional review coverage. Then, ask those that received a sample to write a review.

    When it comes to product sampling, transparency is key. Work with your ratings and reviews provider to make sure reviews that are generated as a result of a sampling campaign are appropriately badged.

  4. Create Experiences in Your Stores
    If you have brick and mortar stores, identify ways you can leverage these assets to create memorable experiences for your shoppers that go beyond a simple transaction. For example, if you have a store that’s in an area with lots of families, offer a family cooking class. Then, at the end of class, provide them with recipes and a list of ingredients to recreate the meal at home.

    Offering rich experiences for your in-store shoppers will allow you to forge deep connections with them. And chances are, a family that visits your store for a cooking class will likely stay to pick up some groceries, too.

  5. Leverage Brick and Mortar Stores to Drive Online Success
    Look for opportunities to leverage your brick-and-mortar stores as a tool to drive your online success. One way grocery retailers are doing this is by offering click and collect services, which allow consumers to place an order online and pick it up in a store. For example, 55% of all digital sales for Target are fulfilled in-store.

    Consumers appreciate the convenience of click and collect services — our research found that 38% of online grocery shoppers use this type of service. Offering this service saves your customers time, and it has the potential to drive additional in-store sales.

  6. Bolster Your Online Presence
    A growing number of consumers are shopping for groceries online. And even those who are visiting brick-and-mortar grocery stores are using their phone as a shopping tool. That’s why it’s important to have a strong online presence so consumers can find your product pages — and easily convert on them.

    Make sure your website provides a great experience for your shoppers and includes plenty of information about your products and your stores. Go beyond your own product descriptions to prominently feature product ratings and reviews on your website and mobile apps. In addition to providing your shoppers with the information they’re looking for, featuring user-generated content on your website can also ensure your product pages are showing up in search engine results. At PowerReviews, we’ve found that when a product goes from having no reviews to having at least one review, the product page experiences a 108% lift in traffic, on average.

Though online grocery will continue to grow, that doesn’t mean traditional grocery stores will be a thing of the past. Instead, consumers’ expectations will continue to evolve, requiring grocery retailers to rethink the way they operate. Leading grocery retailers are already adapting their strategies in order to meet the changing needs of today’s consumers. And if you haven’t started to think about it yet, now’s the time.

Beyond the Supermarket Guide

Five Ways to Get Your User-Generated Content in Front of More Shoppers in More Places During Holiday 2017

It may only be October 3, but brands and retailers have already been busy for months developing strategies to reach and convert more shoppers this holiday season. And for good reason. Holiday 2017 is expected to be a busy time — eMarketer predicts that total retail will grow 2% this holiday season over holiday 2016, with 15.8% growth in ecommerce.

Shoppers are increasingly turning to user-generated content — such as ratings and reviews, photos and videos — to help them make informed purchase decisions. This is especially true during the holidays when consumers are shopping for products they’re not quite as familiar with. For example, there’s Aunt Callie — a recent college grad searching for a gift for her two year old nephew. Or Kevin, a 35 year old suburban dad picking out perfume for his grandmother. Collecting and displaying UGC allows you to break through the noise to reach your shoppers — and it helps your shoppers make better purchase decisions for everyone on their holiday shopping list.

By now, you’ve likely been collecting UGC for awhile. The next step is to display this content in unique ways to capture the attention of shoppers in more places. Read on to learn five ways to get your user-generated content in front of more shoppers this holiday season.

1. Start with Your Own Website

We’ve found that 45% of shoppers will turn to a search engine if there aren’t reviews (or aren’t enough reviews) for a product on a brand or retailer site. An additional 25% will head to Amazon to find this content. And here’s the thing — if a shopper has to look elsewhere to find this content, they probably won’t come back to your site.

So after you’ve started generating reviews, make sure you’re prominently displaying this content on your product pages. Avoid hiding your review content behind tabs or requiring your visitors to aimlessly click around to find what they’re looking for. And since a growing number of consumers are browsing and buying via a mobile device (eMarketer predicts that mobile-based purchases will increase by more than 50% this year), make sure your review content is easy to find and read, regardless of the device a shopper is using to consume it.

User Generated Content Example

Then, think beyond the product page to identify ways to enhance other areas of your website with UGC, including category pages and even your homepage. For example, feature star ratings for your featured items or entice visitors to click through to a landing page that features top rated holiday gifts.

2. Enhance Holiday Advertising Campaigns

Social media, display, email and other targeted digital marketing campaigns can be a great way to reach more consumers this holiday season. To make yours stand out, add star ratings and review snippets to the advertisements.

For example, let’s say you’re a toy retailer promoting a new toddler learning toy that you’ve released in time for the holidays. You create a Facebook advertising campaign targeted at parents of toddlers. Then, you serve this audience an ad for this new toy that includes its average star rating, as well as text from a review written by a parent like them.

3. Add Star Ratings to Cart Abandonment Emails

If your shoppers are anything like me, they have no fewer than a million tabs open when they’re shopping for a gift. It’s easy to get distracted and leave the site without completing a transaction.

One effective way to bring shoppers back to your site to make a purchase is by sending cart abandonment emails. Adding star ratings and reviews for the items the consumer has in her cart can make these emails even more compelling. Bonus points if you include text from a review that mentions a product being a great gift.

User Generated Content of Crocs

4. Add Reviews to Holiday Signage

Ecommerce growth is expected to outpace that of overall retail this holiday season. But that doesn’t mean that consumers are completely steering clear of brick-and-mortar retail. In fact, physical stores still play a large role in the holiday shopping experience for many consumers. According to data from the National Retail Federation, 47% of shoppers say they browse physical stores to find gift ideas.

[bctt tweet=”47% of shoppers say they browse physical stores to find holiday gift ideas. ” username=”powerofreviews”]

If you have physical store locations, catch your shoppers’ attention by including star ratings and review snippets on your in-store signage. Doing this doesn’t have to be a big investment. Take a page out of Amazon’s book and display star ratings and customer reviews on signs alongside your products. And be sure to include this powerful content in your window displays to attract additional foot traffic.

User Generated Content in Retail Stores

5. Syndicate Your Content

Sometimes, a consumer will purchase an item directly from a brand’s ecommerce site. But in other cases, a consumer will make the purchase on the website of a retailer that carries the product. Review syndication — which is the distribution of user-generated content collected on brand sites to retail ecommerce sites — allows you to reach both types of consumers.

If you’re a brand who syndicates reviews, you’ll benefit from increased reach —  your reviews get in front of more consumers on more websites. On the other hand, if you’re a retailer that accepts syndicated brand content, you get the benefits of having reviews on your site without having to generate them yourself. On average, retailers receive 58% of their review content from syndication.

[bctt tweet=”Retailers receive an average of 58% of their review content from syndication.” username=”powerofreviews”]

Consumers today have more shopping options than ever before. This holiday season, capture the attention of more shoppers by featuring UGC in more places. Best of luck!


Arit Nsemo

Arit has a background in client success in the online space. Currently, Arit is based in London, England where she is responsible for the success of PowerReviews clients in EMEA, taking a consultative approach to relationship management.