The growth of online supermarket shopping
- ‘click and collect’ services
- discounts being used as incentives to buy fresh products online (like Coles ‘Flybuys’)
- ‘the checkout walk’ providing product suggestions for shoppers to add to their baskets (this makes the shopping process easier and increases sales - win, win!)
Manufacturer pain points
- Retailer restrictions leaving companies without path to purchase data
- Competing with brands that have paid to be featured
- Getting products from crowded categories to be placed above ‘the fold’ or before ‘the scroll limit’ where shoppers tune out or stop looking
- Attempting to avoid encroaching on in-store sales
- Making the cut when shoppers purge their baskets of luxuries and indulgences to reduce the ‘guilt factor’ (hasta la vista, decadent chocolate bar)
- Making an impact on price driven shoppers (with no sensory cues) who are easily able to sort by price and keep track of their basket value
Consumer pain points
- It's harder to side-by-side browse a complex category, like coffee. Shoppers aren't able to quickly assess what kinds of roasts, strengths and flavours are available before making a choice
- Lack of sensory experience. Shoppers are unable to smell and touch the products
- Sometimes products aren’t tagged correctly in the search functionality, so it’s not a seamless experience (spelling of brand names can also be an issue here)
- Hassle factor. Often it doesn’t save time shopping online and the only benefit can feel like the ability to shop at awkward times, like late at night
- Limitations as to what shoppers are able to see on a screen before scrolling. In-store there is much better visibility
Tapping into shopper psychology
Success is all about tapping into your shopper’s mindset. Let’s have a look at a few of the principles and behaviours at PLAY online:
It is notoriously harder to drive impulse purchases in the online space. There is much more friction in the buying process and a greater opportunity for shoppers to back out after they click ‘add to cart’ to that bag of sweets.
Increase your chances for impulse take up by making key nutritional information easy to spot (Amazon offers 3D zoom displays too!), including multiple high quality images, taking advantage of promotional offers (like bundles and check out walks) and ensuring websites are mobile-friendly, easy to navigate, come across as trustworthy (clearly stated warranties, policies, customer reviews, etc) and offer guest checkout, where possible.
It’s tough to get exposure for low frequency, low involvement purchases (like spices) in the online environment because shoppers aren’t even prompted to try new things when they simply ‘copy-paste basket’. Once established, these purchase habits are hard to break.
In some cases, shoppers can be tempted towards product trial through competitive prices, ad repetition and promotions. However, you must ensure that the sensory experience follows through on the brand or product promise in order to achieve repeat purchase.
I'm sure you've heard all about Millennials and instant gratification, but what about delayed gratification? People love the anticipation of delivery - it’s like Christmas.
Whilst this principle is felt most strongly with items like clothes and gifts, it is also applicable to food hampers and beauty products, for example.
"Delayed gratification may be the most lucrative psychological principle at play (and at pay)—the main reason people love to shop online, and can’t stop. Buy it, but get it later, and waiting patiently makes it that much more desired." (Psychology Today)
The industry can tap into this by turning the choosing, tracking and delivery of products into an emotional experience. Heart over head - emotions are key to many purchase habits, not reason. It's important to think about how you can create that special feeling. Does anyone else watch the Uber food driver move all the way along the map to your apartment? No, just me?
Over to you
It is certainly an exciting time for brands who want to make an impact in the online space. However, there is a lot of work to be done in perfecting the online shopping experience.
Whether you're in food & drink, personal care, supplementation, home care or beyond, this shift in buying behaviour is something your business must stay on top of in order to succeed in a highly competitive market.
Truly understanding your shoppers and making innovation a way of life has a vital part to PLAY. We can help you evaluate your customer experience, pack, communications (or anything shopper related!). Get in touch on 02 8097 0200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get straight onto it.
Talking of how we can help, check out our latest white paper 'Making Innovation Happen' (click HERE to download it) which provides you with an end-to-end innovation process combining foresight, insight, science and technology (the magic formula!).