As growth slows, suppliers & retailers need to improve the shopper’s online path to purchase

FMCG suppliers and retailers need to improve the shopper’s online path to purchase in order to maximise the benefit of online as a grocery shopping channel, after figures showed that growth in the channel is slowing.

That’s the message from retail and FMCG agency Bridgethorne, which analyses the behaviours and attitudes of thousands of shoppers and consumers every week, following recent Mintel figures showing 45% of consumers said they had shopped for groceries online in 2018, down from 49% in 2016. 63% of those surveyed also reported having had had a problem with an order in the previous year.

“We know some shoppers are influenced along their ‘path to purchase’ by both digital and physical stimuli; others less so. Understanding how these triggers persuade a shopper to purchase is crucial so undertaking research into different types of shoppers and shopper missions to inform digital activation can be invaluable,” explains Clare Adames, Head of eCommerce at Bridgethorne.

“Of course, what people say they do maybe different to what they actually do. In one recent study we found up to three quarters of shoppers saying they looked at retailer site ads although we know from observational research these often go unnoticed. We are working with clients to understand the relative importance of various touchpoints to inform the development of omni-channel strategies even for purely digital businesses.” 

Getting your online presence right, though, can also have a benefit for bricks and mortar stores, with other research showing that up to 70% of in-store sales are influenced by an online retailer search – the so-called ‘eCommerce halo effect’.

“Fortunately, there are some quick wins available,” continues Adames.

“Digital taxonomy and web page layout can easily optimise the online experience and conversion rates. And, of course, unlike physical stores, changes can literally be made overnight to improve the customer experience.”

Bridgethorne offers a series of eCommerce services as part of its portfolio. These range from eCommerce capability assessments, digital shelf audits and eCommerce shopper activation to understanding the management of multi-channel and pureplay retailers, the eCommerce shopper journey and building effective commercial plans.

These form part of Bridgethorne’s comprehensive series of approaches that help supplier organisations address key aspects of Integrated Shopper Management as it pertains to their particular circumstances. Areas that can be addressed range from shopper understanding, through strategy and planning right up to activation and evaluation.