What gets fresh produce into consumers’ online grocery baskets? As part of the Produce Marketing Association’s series of global consumer insights reports, we recently commissioned research fielded by leading market-research firm Ipsos to help our members better understand the factors that go into answering that question. The “E-Commerce Insights Report: Online Shopper Sentiment” explores consumers’ attitudes, motivations and behaviors when purchasing fresh produce through e-commerce. Armed with insights about what consumers value most in the online shopping experience, retailers and suppliers can better position produce online to capture consumers’ interest and help move more fresh fruits and vegetables into digital baskets.
Global consumers’ continually climbing convenience expectations make online grocery shopping an attractive option even as they resume more in-person activities and schedules. Convenience and good pricing—which encompasses both attractive everyday prices and special promotional pricing—are top motivators that consumers cited as influences on their online purchases. Leveraging these drivers can help increase online fresh produce sales.
But to keep fresh fruits and vegetables in the consideration set, retailers and their supply chain partners must mitigate consumers’ top concerns about purchasing fresh produce online: namely, concerns about product quality and service fees associated with buying online. Customers in the United States, the United Kingdom and China, in particular, said they had had problems with online orders and deliveries of fresh produce in the past. Consumers seem to place responsibility for addressing these issues with their order-picking and delivery provider, as most consumers indicated that an order problem wouldn’t dissuade them from buying produce online again but would prompt them to switch to another provider. By contrast, consumers said delivery fees are a deterrent to ordering online in the first place, suggesting that they expect this service for free.
Given the high cost of acquiring a shopper, successfully managing fresh produce fulfillment and delivery is critical to maintaining customer satisfaction and loyalty.
On the quality front, leading consumer concerns include uncertainty about the shelf life of produce purchased online and doubt that the produce someone else selects for them is the produce they would have selected themselves.
To get more produce into online shopping carts, retailers and suppliers need to address both the drivers and the deterrents affecting consumers’ online purchase decisions. Consider the following to influence preferences and purchases.
Eileen O’Leary is market research manager for the Produce Marketing Association (PMA).
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