Here's the Tech that Grocery Shoppers Actually Want in Stores

Tech innovations across the grocery sector have taken a massive leap forward in the past few years. Here's what they’re most (and least) interested in.

The author(s)

  • Sarah Lehman Director, Channel Performance
  • Jaime Tarud Director, Channel Performance
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It has become increasingly important for grocery brands to adopt and perfect technology to enhance the shopping experience of their customers. For example today’s grocer consumers prefer a superior self-checkout experience and having access to good mobile app and mobile payment options. Least important are blockchain payment options and cashierless (just walk out) experiences.

Knowing which technological enhancements to pursue and which to ignore can be challenging: Adopt too much (or the wrong) technology and you abandon your base customer; adopt too little or none at all, and you are left vulnerable to dissatisfaction and increasing competition.

Read on to discover tips to help you decide which current and emerging technology options to implement.


KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Technology is a reality grocers must face, but they need to prioritize, adopt and refine these technological enhancements wisely
  • Today’s grocery consumers are most interested in having a superior self-checkout experience and having access to good mobile app and mobile payment options
  • Least important to grocery consumers are blockchain payment options and cashierless, “just walk out” experiences
  • Grocery brands must get the implementation of these technological enhancements right through considerations of consumer feedback, focus on superior human interaction, and monitoring performance post rollout

Technology in the grocery industry

It has become increasingly important for grocery brands to adopt and perfect technology to enhance the shopping experience of their customers. Knowing which technological enhancements to pursue and which to ignore can be challenging: Adopt too much (or the wrong) technology and you abandon your base customer; adopt too little or none at all, and you are left vulnerable to dissatisfaction and increasing competition. Here’s how to decide which current and emerging technology options to implement.

 

how important if at all is the availbility of the following technology enhancements to your retail shopping

Choosing the right technology

For the in-store experience, brands should invest in a better self-checkout experience; we found this to be the most important technology to grocery customers with nearly half (42%) saying this is important to their experience, according to data from the Ipsos Coronavirus Consumer Tracker. For example, new RFID technology allows for faster and simpler self-checkouts by eliminating the need to scan each item. Brands should avoid investing in cashierless stores—most grocery consumers are aware of this offering, but fewer than 22% say this technology is important to them when thinking about their grocery experience.

The online grocery shopper is looking for same-day and ultra-fast delivery options and a superior BOPIS (buy online pickup in-store) and curbside fulfillment experience—34% and 31% are interested in this, respectively. We recommend investment in the technology and logistics that make same-day delivery a reality for your offering and, if you are already executing same day delivery, delight your online grocery shopper with ultra-fast delivery. For BOPIS and curbside fulfillment methods, focus on simplifying the online cart-building process and significantly minimizing out-of-stock listings as well as pickup fees or order minimums. Brands should avoid investment in autonomous or robotic delivery options for now—most consumers are aware of this technology but fewer than 20% express any interest in experiencing it.

Brands should enhance the experience of the grocery customer both in-store and online with mobile apps and mobile payment options. About 40% of grocery customers say the use of mobile apps, specifically, is important to their overall grocery experience. Avoid investment in accepting blockchain payments; more than half of grocery consumers (54%) have either never heard of this technology or find it to be not at all important to them.

 

Focusing on the customer

When considering technology in the grocery space, it’s important to level set around the whole customer experience with grocery brands. As brands look to adopt, implement, and refine technological enhancements for their customers, it is important not to lose sight of the importance of the human element. While technology has become increasingly important to the grocery consumer, the importance of personal customer service has remained consistent. Six out of ten grocery shoppers say a positive employee interaction is extremely important to their shopping experience. Getting the employee interaction right is also important, with 70% of consumers saying they expect better and faster service through personal contact versus digital or online.

consumer uses BOPIS/curbside

Getting it right

We appreciate the difficulty in identifying and prioritizing the technology that is right for your brand and tailored to your customers’ specific needs, rolling out initiatives, and balancing technology with good employee engagement. We know consumers are 60% more likely to remember a negative interaction than to remember a positive one, and brands must work to close the gap between the aspirations of the brand offering and the realities of the customer experience.

Ipsos Channel Performance can help make this a reality by designing a strategic mystery shopping program that brings light to the customer experience from an omnichannel perspective across in-person and digital touchpoints. Whether it’s through competitive intelligence methods, leveraging Ipsos FastFacts to gather continuous feedback from your own consumer base, using geolocation digital intercept surveys to get quick insights from customers throughout your network and competitors,’ or leveraging available syndicated research such as the eCommerce Experience study, Ipsos Channel Performance can help brands be sure they are not only adopting the right technologies, but that they are implementing them consistently and successfully.

The author(s)

  • Sarah Lehman Director, Channel Performance
  • Jaime Tarud Director, Channel Performance

Customer Experience