“Things Got So Bad, I Shopped Online!”
– Why Your Customers Aren’t Online Shopping.
Customer Perceptions has been in business for 20 years, providing mystery shopping services, customer satisfaction surveys and consultancy services to businesses across Ireland and The UK. We’ve picked up some insights over that time, and the last topic we turned our attention to was online shopping. We got 365 responses to our online shopping survey, and they turned up some interesting results about why potential customers won’t be using your online shopping service, and of course some insights as to how you can fix that.
1st– The Numbers.
The first thing to consider (and so the first question we asked!) was simple: how many people have done a grocery shop online? If you’re trying to entice customers off the street and onto an online shopping service, then the results should be encouraging – more people had shopped online than not. Almost 53% of respondents said that they had done a grocery shop online. That initial good news gets punctured immediately, however – of our 365 respondents, over 92% have grocery shopped online less than once a month, only about 5% grocery shopped 1-2 times a month, with a tiny 2.75% shopping online 3 or more times a month. The question then presents itself- why the dramatic drop off? And why do people choose to shop online in the first place?
2nd – The Reasons.
We asked the respondents to explain a little, and the first place answer as to why they would shop online was that it was more convenient – 45% of people said that. 31% didn’t have time to visit a store, while almost 16% felt it was easier for them to budget by shopping online. About 8% shopped online because there were better deals to be found, and another 8% lived too far from the store. Immediately it should strike that there are two themes – the people who found it more convenient, the people who didn’t have time to visit a store and the people who lived too far from a store constitute 84% of respondents, and all these reasons are convenience and time-management related. Only 24% of respondents (the people who felt it was easier to budget and the people who liked the online deals) seemed to be taking value and money issues into consideration. 24% of respondents also gave us some other specific reasons, which should shine a little more light on what ultimately drives people to shop online.
3rd – The Problems
Almost 24% of respondents went to the trouble of giving us specific comments, and these are some of the most enlightening elements of our survey. 6 people specifically mentioned access to a car – when it broke down or wasn’t available, they went online. 2 mentioned injury or acquired disability as a reason, while 5 mentioned an event or circumstance that required them to move online – a family gathering in one instance, a new baby in another. A further 7 people used the online option as a result of a particularly large or heavy load. That’s a total of 20 people who turned to online shopping in an emergency or exceptional circumstance. 7 People mentioned that they tried it out due to an offer on online shopping at the time (most commonly free delivery) and 6 people tried it simply from curiosity or novelty value. It seems clear – most people view online shopping as a reasonable option in an emergency or exceptional circumstance, but are slow to adopt it as a regular method of grocery shopping.
4th – So What Can I Do?
There’s a resistance to online grocery shopping. We also got some comments suggesting people feel more in control of their shopping when they’re actually shopping for themselves in-store. People are happy to turn to Online Shopping in an emergency or exceptional circumstance, but apparently they rarely embrace the experience as their standard method of doing “the big weekly shop”. However, 24% having tried it due to reasons of budgeting and online offers is not insignificant, so it certainly seems worthwhile to promote those ideas. Also, if the majority of people are turning to online shopping as a response to difficult events, they’re probably in no position to sit down and work through any better value they did receive on those occasions that they did shop online. If a customer has tried online grocery shopping as a one off, it may be useful (after a reasonable period) to get in contact about the value the customer did receive on the occasion that they shopped online, and the value they could receive by doing it again. Emphasize the control the customer has – mention how they can choose their own substitutions and how they’re free to return any substitution that doesn’t suit.
You can’t control the circumstances that initially bring these customers to you, but it’s by answering these reservations that you can bring one-off online customers back again and again and again.