Despite optimistic forecasts, consumers aren’t biting for online grocery shopping. In fact, dissatisfaction increased for first time online buyers from 17% last year to 27% this year according to a survey by Morgan Stanley.

Why? 84% decided against ordering groceries online because they preferred to physically see and choose their groceries – the same percentage as the previous year.

Why online grocery shopping may be slow to catch on:

  • Delivering fresh high quality fruit and produce consistently will be a tall order, even for Amazon.

  • Even if the grocer can deliver quality produce, it may never seem as good as what shoppers would choose for themselves.

  • Millennials are driving the increases in produce sales and over half of them prefer shopping at brick and mortar.

  • Online ordering is still new for many grocery stores and first-time online buyers may not come back if their experience is bad.

What can grocers do to make sure that initial experience is positive?

eMarketer asked industry experts to share the top six expectations customers have when grocery shopping online:

  1. Shoppers want the same full selection online that’s offered in store and at the same price point.

  2. They want to edit their online grocery cart anytime from anywhere. (Customers of online grocery delivery service Peapod update their orders an average of six times.)

  3. The option to order via mobile device or desktop. Although most consumers prefer ordering groceries on a desktop computer.

  4. Ordering online must save them time.

  5. Satisfy their growing demand for meal kits.

  6. Win their trust. As noted above this may be the biggest obstacle. Successful online sales will require grocers to consistently deliver high quality fresh produce and meat – at least comparable to the level shoppers would choose for themselves.


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