Consumers globally are abandoning online grocery shopping, a recent research has claimed, adding there still exist opportunities for omnichannels.
According to fresh analysis by SymphonyAI Retail CPG of more than 58 million shopper baskets, 52 per cent of e-commerce grocery shoppers left the online channel over the last year. Further analysis of those lapsed customers reveals that while 60 per cent are reverting to the retailer’s bricks & mortar sites, 40 per cent have left the retailer altogether.
The study notes that the loss of former online customers has had a significant impact on e-commerce revenue growth. While total online revenue growth only dipped by 1 per cent in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022, held up partly by inflation, the data showed a 14 per cent net decline in the total number of online shoppers (departing shoppers offset by new shoppers).
The research shows that not all those online shoppers are returning to the same retailer’s bricks & mortar sites to do their shopping. What’s more, when they do, the shoppers were found to be less valuable. Lost online customers that did revert to the physical stores reduced their overall spend by 16 per cent, indicating they are fulfilling their grocery needs elsewhere.
“The overall decline in online customers and their impact on e-commerce growth is significant,” said Laetitia Berthier, head of client engagement, SymphonyAI Retail CPG.
“Contrary to expectations, the losses are coming not from shoppers who were forced online during the height of the pandemic, but rather those shoppers who had moved online after the pandemic. It’s critical for retailers to understand those customer dynamics and their fast-changing needs to succeed in the critical online channel.”
The study found that shoppers who buy groceries online and in-store, deemed omnichannel shoppers, have become the most important customers to retailers. More than 71 per cent of online households in the first quarter of this year were considered omnichannel households, and they are actively growing sales for the retailer.
Interestingly, more than eight in 10 in-store shoppers have not used e-commerce for grocery shopping over the past five years, meaning retailers still have an opportunity to grow an omnichannel shopping base.
The research identifies big opportunities for retailers to increase digital engagement, drive incremental growth and build customer loyalty. For example, the number of households seeking own-label products online delivers revenue growth of more than 10 per cent, with 35 per cent of households in the study buying own-label online.