Back in the day…

There was a time when the most common question asked by grocers was related to the bagging preference upon exit…“Do you want Paper or Plastic”? Ah, the good ‘ol days.   Certainly environmental concerns aren’t to be marginalized but today’s grocer is grappling with a much more complex question it seems.  Today’s grocer is asking customers, ‘Do you prefer to shop online or in-person?   The answer is ‘Yes”? Customers today prefer both…sometimes, maybe, always?

Survey says…

In attempting to answer this question, grocers can be easily confused by the current and prolific data barrage.  For example, according to a June 2023 ( survey, ‘Online grocery customers spend 32% more Per Purchase than In-Store’.  The study points out that “that consumers spend $88 on their average in-store grocery purchase. Conversely, eGrocery customers spend a significantly higher $116 on average per purchase.”   Accelerated by the recent pandemic, grocers are working feverishly to step up their digital offerings to their customers.   But should grocers abandon ‘In-store’ strategies altogether in lieu of higher online spends and increasing digital demand? Not necessarily.  According to a January 2023 survey via Kroger backed data firm 84.51, ‘Consumers say they’d rather shop in-store (versus online) because they do not trust someone else picking out their grocery items.  Explicitly, the survey indicates that ‘78% of shoppers plan to shop in-store most often for their upcoming month’s groceries and household items’.   Is the data in conflict then?  Not exactly.

Statistics can be made to prove anything — even the truth. ~Author unknown

Any grocer owner will certainly want to dig deeper into research but the reality is that the answer to our Online vs. In-store question is ‘Yes’!  Today’s grocery shoppers do prefer both Online and In-store shopping experiences. Most Grocers would agree, and could support with their own analysis, that Consumers are spending more online and in parallel, those same customers primarily prefer shopping in person.  

Customers now expect Omni-channel shopping experiences, but more specifically, they prefer to have the option of eGrocery with the grocery store where they traditionally shop in-person.  According to Acosta’s Online Shopping report (Sept 2022), ‘More than half (57%) of online grocery shoppers say they stick with the retailers they shop in-store’.   Net – trust matters. So while most grocers have been quickly evolving eGrocer capabilities, ‘grocer leaders’ are those who are quick to realize that it takes more than a fancy webpage to create trust and thus achieve the nirvana of customer loyalty.   

The Phygital shopping bag…

With the exception of the older boomer demographic, most grocery shoppers today have likely engaged with their preferred grocer online. Subsequently, the same incentives which attract customers to use the website, frictionless experiences, speed and efficiency, are table stakes for not only luring customers back into the store, but ensuring they don’t cheat over to your competition.

1 Item(s) in Cart; Self-Checkout

Grocers are deploying a myriad of In-store experiences that bring the digital and physical (Phygital) together for their shoppers; In-store Wi-Fi, Digital loyalty with In-store rewards, digitally invited-hosted cooking/tasting experiences, dynamic digital advertising and/or in-store digital coupons, just to name a few.  However if at the end of all those wonderful in-store experiences, if the checkout experience hasn’t evolved in parallel, then all of the grocer’s efforts are for naught. 

Remember, customers have become accustomed to almost everything they need being at the touch of a finger. That means speed and efficiency are now viewed as non-negotiable expectations.   Sure, the friendliness of the cashier, clerk or ticket agent can still have you clicking a smiling face on an exit interview, but in the end – speed, real or perceived, drives customer satisfaction more than any other experience outcome.  

It seems our initial question ‘paper or plastic’ has progressed to include ‘and/or digital.’ one would agree.  The good news is we know the answer is ‘Yes’, customers want options and expect grocers to deliver great Omni-channel experiences in and out of the physical store..  

Hyosung…your Self-Checkout team!

However, the last impression of your store will ultimately be determined by final stop before exiting the physical store.  Don’t let the lack of Self-Checkout in your grocery store impact all the wonderful work you’re striving to deliver with new Omni-channel experiences.  With over 45 years of expertise in manufacturing and self-service technologies and over 880,000 self-service devices shipped globally, Hyosung Innovue can help you map the best path forward for Self-Checkout.  

Want to learn more? 

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