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How Today’s Consumers Navigate the Grocery Store Aisles

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Brick and Mortar Still Rules

It’s no secret that ecommerce continues to grow at a rapid pace. According to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, ecommerce accounted for nearly 12% of total retail sales in 2016. But while a growing number of transactions happen online, grocery is an area that has traditionally lagged behind — especially in the U.S.

Today, the majority of consumers are still visiting a brick and mortar store to purchase groceries — at least part of the time. PowerReviews recently surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. consumers to learn more about their grocery habits and found that 90% have made an in-store grocery purchase within the last three months. And even shoppers who opt to purchase groceries online are still visiting physical store locations — 92% of online grocery shoppers have also made an in-store grocery purchase within the last three months.

90% of consumers have made an in-store grocery purchase within the last three months. Click To Tweet

But online grocery will continue to grow, driven by the growing number of shopping options available to consumers. And consumers’ desire for information is resulting in a change to their in-store shopping habits, too. Read on to find out what we learned about how today’s consumers are using technology and information to navigate the grocery store aisles.

Consumers Use Their Phones as a Grocery Shopping Tool

A majority of consumers continue to purchase their groceries in a brick-and-mortar store. However, these in-store shoppers certainly aren’t steering clear of technology altogether. In fact, our most recent research found that the majority of grocery shoppers (59%) are using their phones as a shopping tool while browsing the grocery store aisles.

59% of grocery shoppers use their phones as an in-store shopping tool. Click To Tweet

How exactly are in-store grocery shoppers using their phones while shopping? The most popular activities are finding or redeeming coupons (32%) and reviewing shopping lists (30%). Grocery shoppers are also using their phones in-store to find product information prior to purchase, including recipes (20%), ratings and reviews (17%) and competitor prices (16%).

In-Store Grocery Shoppers Want Reviews for Products that are New (or New to Them)

A consumer may not ordinarily seek out reviews for a grocery item that she purchases each week—such as cereal. But if she’s considering a cereal she’s never purchased before, there’s a certain amount of risk involved. Reviews can help mitigate this risk.

It makes sense, then, that the majority (68%) of in-store grocery shoppers are interested in accessing product ratings and reviews while shopping for new products in a grocery store. Be sure to incorporate review generation into product launches — consumers want to find this content.

68% of in-store grocery shoppers are interested in finding reviews for new products. Click To Tweet

Reviews Sway In-Store Grocery Shoppers

We know that 72% of online grocery shoppers are more likely to purchase a grocery item they’ve never purchased before if there are customer reviews for that product. And our latest research found that reviews also have the power to sway in-store shoppers: more than half (52%) of in-store shoppers are more likely to purchase a grocery item they’ve never purchased before if there are reviews for that product. Again, this points to the importance of generating plenty of reviews, especially for new products.

Shoppers Want Reviews on Store Signage

Our survey found that while in-store grocery shoppers are using their phones for various shopping related tasks, 41% admit they don’t use their phone to help them shop. It makes sense, then, that more than half (56%) of in-store grocery shoppers prefer to find reviews on store signage.

Shopper marketing professionals, take note: now’s the time to start providing your shoppers with review content in-store. Featuring this content in your stores can be as simple as displaying star ratings and customer reviews on cardboard signs alongside your products, similar to what Amazon does in their bookstore locations.

In-Store Shoppers Also Seek Reviews Online

As mentioned previously, a majority of grocery shoppers are using their phones as a grocery shopping tool. So, understandably, in addition to the 56% of shoppers who want to find reviews on store signage, 25% prefer to find reviews on the store’s mobile app, and the remaining 19% want to find reviews using the store’s website via a mobile phone.

Be sure you’re appealing to your mobile-savvy, in-store shoppers by ensuring you have plenty of reviews on your website and mobile app, too. As an added bonus, this content helps ensure your product pages are showing up in search engine results, too.

Wrapping Things Up

The way consumers shop for groceries is evolving, driven by the growing number of shopping options and the desire to easily access product information, regardless of the shopping channel. Leading grocery brands and retailers are adapting their strategies to more effectively meet the expectations of today’s grocery shoppers. If you’re a grocery brand or retailer, now’s the time to rethink your strategy to better connect with shoppers across channels.

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