There is no uncertainty in admitting the fact that this global pandemic, like many others in the past, has had catastrophic effects, effects that we shall be reeling under, for a long time to come. Apart from giving us all the individual time to re-consider our life choices and evaluating the cause and effect of the decisions that we have made in the past, it is also time to understand how differently we have to function as a business owner or an organization looking to adapt to this change.
It is going to be a long time before we can start expecting things to come back to normal and the normal that will manifest in the foreseeable future is going to be different from the normal, we have experienced up until now. It is in the midst of this, through the fear of being deprived of our very basic needs, that we have come to realize that essential services such as groceries, fruits and vegetables are perhaps one of the most important pillars of our system.
While there are many organisations that have moved to delivery of fruits and vegetables, this unprecedented time calls for a systematisation of the online e-commerce model to be extended to the groceries sector as well.
Because of the restrictions and the fear associated with this pandemic, we have seen waves of transformation being pioneered by a few organizations that have entered the online grocery retail sector. There are some retail companies that have seen a whopping growth of their on-site users by almost 2400% and it has sustained at this heightened level.
Understanding the changes in behavioral trends
It is important to understand the psychology of panic buying. The fear of not having enough was enough for people to start stocking and in some extreme cases, over-stock up on essential supplies. The panic buying phenomenon can be categorized into three frameworks essentially ranging from the need to feel independent (fear associated with not having the support system in place), the responsibility towards the family members, and the fear of scarcity.
There are some factors that are associated with the online grocery adoption and these factors include:
There has been immense conversation around online shopping not picking up, because of not enough trial taking place. There has been enough data to suggest that a large majority of the population has the ability and the resources to be able to order online, however, do not do so, because of there not being an incentive for trial. In addition to this, it is also the shopping experience that buying supplies come with, which makes it a more desirable option. However, with the recent pandemic, there is more incentive for trial with a lot more people opting for these services as an alternative.
Also, data and research around this subject have found that most people have found to stick to one particular supplier after they have completed at least three orders with one particular service. A substantial number of grocers understand that this serves as a limitation and is not able to identify and invest in time-saving tools that could actually help in knowing consumer behavior better.
There are some significant steps that one can take, while shifting to an online grocery website development and these are steps that can be taken, regardless of how soon or how far the situation is from getting better.
For a grocer who is trying to fulfill an online order, it would be quite unsustainable for the grocer to go through the entire store to pack orders. It could be a more beneficial strategy to have employees pick by zone. Grocers can then, in turn, also create proportions and pre-proportions for other counter goods and then listing these proportioned goods for sale online, rather than having the customer/grocer manually do that themselves.
Contactless Deliveries are going to become an important aspect of the eco-system, something that many retailers are already including in their applications. Applications are offering a bunch of alternatives to customers in the form of contactless deliveries and this helps in minimizing infection. One of the more important benefits of these types of services is also the safety and precaution measures that a customer would look for and an organization having this option on their application, would be more likely to be popular amongst grocers.
This period has also seen the rise of many multi-product or multi-niche delivery needs becoming an important revolution. Instead of the customer going to separate applications for their requirements, a multi-product application gives users the convenience that they need and saves a lot of time for them.
There are some distinct features that an online grocery application absolutely must have:
Cart Shopping and List-based shopping gives an opportunity to the customer to easily access the list of the products that they are looking for and create varied shopping lists according to their needs, on the basis of these lists. Cart Shopping is a virtual list that would be prepared by the customer during the times of in-store shopping, however, now, it can be prepared by the website in itself.
Suggested Search options would give you the benefit of searching for the products that you want by just typing in the keyword or the phrase that the customer would need. The suggested search option is a very good addition to the online shopping experience, as it allows the customer to go to the product that they specifically want and allows for fast fulfillment.
Push Notifications are specifically used to offer the customer the choice of availing of discounts and offer at specific times. Getting the latest updates and the offers in the form of discounts and deals would give the customer the option to choose the product of their choice at a price of their choice. Having this as an option is always a great marketing strategy and has proven to be effective in building customer loyalty.
Reviews, Testimonials and Accreditations are extremely important in these testing times. Especially at a time, when the customer would be feeling vulnerable while not having a physical look at the products that they are buying, it would become even more important to build trust amongst the customer. There should be testimonials from different users, forums for discussions or for clarifying questions or any other accreditation that could be required in order to build trust. An important thing to mention in this list would also be the precautions and the safety measures that one would be taking, in the procurement, distribution and sanitization of the products.
Comparing products is an extremely viable option if you are looking for customer satisfaction because comparing products gives the customer the feeling of being in control of the choices that they are making and also gives them the options to be able to compare prices and the quality of the products that they are choosing. If they are doing it through one application, then it is all the better.
Secure payment options are extremely important in these times and having secure payment methods and gateways and giving customers multiple paying options, to pay by cash or any other digital wallet is something that will help reduce the stress level of the grocers.
It is important to consider the trying times that we are in and how that is going to transform the nature of the industries that we have been a part of. Groceries and online shopping are not going to be the same as it was before and creating models and business strategies in order to be able to adapt to this sea-change is going to be the need of the hour.
Organizations and businesses that are ready to do this, are going to hugely benefit from this and will find it easier to accommodate this change if this were to become the new normal in the future. Working from the perspective that this might be the new norm, it is easier to implement all these changes at the initial level and start building customer loyalty in this direction. People, in these uncertain times, are going to look for safer and more secure options and options that are more convenient and faster to fulfill at the same time, and creating an online shopping experience could be something that can become huge in the long-term.
In order to be able to best implement this change, it is better to follow the strategies and the directions that larger organizations with more resources are following, in order to be able to minimize risk and maximize efficiency. Looking at time-saving and efficiency-creating applications that one can incorporate into their applications is another way of staying ahead of this curve.