Many consumers do not browse when they shop for groceries online, a dynamic that may be a challenge for retailers, a recent survey found.

Search bars and order history take shoppers directly to the items they plan on purchasing, and consumers are taking advantage.

“In-store shoppers must necessarily move from one item to the next, browsing whether intentionally or not,” market research firm TrendSource said in its 2017 Grocery Industry Report. “This provides grocers with ample opportunity to increase spend by strategically distributing promotions, similar items and impulse items throughout the store. The same is not true for many online shoppers.”

Less than 15% of those surveyed said that browsing virtual aisles is their primary way to find items. Order history and the search bar were used most often.

Participants deemed recommendations by retailers as least useful — unless the prices on those items were lower than normal.

“Sales are basically recommendations coupled with a lower price point, but shoppers aren’t going to settle for half the deal,” TrendSource said in its report. “If you want them to take notice, you have to mark it down.”

The survey found that shoppers are still much more willing to purchase dry goods online than they are to purchase perishables. However, consumers shopping online from their local grocer — as opposed to Amazon, Instacart, Jet or other third parties — were more willing to buy perishables.

“Perhaps shoppers find comfort in knowing their items are only traveling a short distance or perhaps they have more faith and trust in their familiar grocery vendors,” TrendSource said in the report. “Regardless, across produce, dairy, meat/seafood, and baked goods, shoppers utilizing local grocery delivery options were twice as likely to order online.”

TrendSource pointed to that behavior a key reason that Amazon recently agreed to purchase Whole Foods for $13.7 billion.

In addition, more than half of those surveyed, across age groups, said they prefer to order groceries online from a local store versus an online-only vendor.

“Amazon has stepped right into a local footprint and there’s no telling what tricks it has up its sleeve now that it’s put its entire weight behind grocery delivery,” TrendSource said in its report. “But for the time being, the opportunity is there to establish a beachhead in grocery delivery.”

 
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