From a consumer perspective, the online grocery experience is broken. While an increasing majority of consumers are shopping based on lifestyle choices and wellness needs (up 15% over the last two years), online retailers aren’t making it easy for them to find products that meet their criteria.
The problem is significant. According to recent research we conducted here at Label Insight, most retailers offer a limited number of product attribute search filters (such as “keto” or “vegan”). Of the 30 top retailers audited, only 21 had any form of search filtering. Those that did overlooked 80% of common consumer need-states and preferences in their filters.
Beyond creating frustrated shoppers, this lack of focus on customer experience costs retailers money when customers can’t purchase products they can’t find. The retailers that do offer filtering functionality return significantly fewer products than qualify for any given filter. On average, for the retailers with search filters, less than 14% of products that qualified based on label information were returned for a filtered search. In other words, more than 86% of the qualifying products that should be visible to a consumer on the digital shelf were not.
Retailers that want to future-proof their business must start focusing on the online customer experience. Several benefits come with taking action. In this post, we explore why improving customer experience is essential and the six key benefits you’ll enjoy when you do so.
Retailers Must Improve the E-Commerce Grocery Experience
The data clearly reveals that retailers must adapt to how the modern consumer searches for products if they want to retain customers and gain new ones. If your website is like many others that are failing customers, there is good news: combining digital technology with available product and shopper data makes improving the customer experience much simpler. By accessing the data relevant to your products and implementing attribute-based search filtering, you can enable customers to find the products they’re looking for. Let’s look now at each of the benefits you’ll gain.
- Increased Loyalty
Because so few retailers are implementing data-based filtering, consumers have difficulty finding the products that meet their need-states and preferences online. So if you show shoppers all of the products on your site that qualify for a search, they’re likely to buy from you rather than a competitor — and keep coming back for more. It’s much easier to build loyalty when you offer a strong customer experience.
- Understanding of Audience Segments
By analyzing your platform data, you can better understand your customer segments. You can identify most-searched need-states (such as “peanut-free”) and preferences (such as “keto”) and the behaviors associated with those searching different terms. This unique shopper insight can help you boost the results of your promotional activity and couponing.
- Improved Conversions on Product Recommendations
Using insights from your platform data, you can make better-matched product recommendations. For example, you’ll know not to recommend conventional crackers to a customer who added organic wine and cheese to their cart after using the “organic” filter.
- Increased Customer Satisfaction with Product Replacement
Online shopping services such as Whole Foods Market’s grocery delivery service and Instacart face a dilemma when it comes to product replacement: you must provide product replacement for items out of stock, but if you swap in an unsatisfactory product, the customer will complain — and you can lose revenue through returns or chargebacks. When you ensure that product replacements are acceptable, you can reduce lost revenue and increase customer satisfaction.
- Boosted Reputation for Customer Advocacy
Those who shop based on allergy intolerances or social impact tend to be vocal, viral, and loyal. Providing accessibility and service to consumer segments with specific wellness or value-based needs is good for business. For example, almost half of Americans suffer from hypertension so it was surprising to find that only 1 in 5 retailers include a Heart Healthy filter on their e-commerce site, and when included, 66% of qualifying products fail to be returned. By improving the experience of customers who have particular need-states in mind when shopping, you can boost your reputation for customer advocacy.
- Ability to Optimize Paid Search
Another financial benefit that comes from using accurate and complete product data is improving your paid search. Using the detailed product metadata, you can target brands with high value AdWords more accurately, further aligning with their products to yield a better experience and increased opportunity for conversion. By creating smarter paid search initiatives, a brand can bid on more strategic terms with higher conversion, often at a higher cost, like “Keto Snacks” or “Organic Protein Bars,” returning more accurate and relevant results and happier consumers.
The payoff for improving the customer experience is extremely high because it affects not only the individual shopping session but also customer loyalty and repeat purchases. The retailers who win long-term will be those that utilize product data and the technology to include popular attributes in their filtering functionality.
Read Empty Aisles: The Grocery Shoppability Audit to see key research findings and learn more about how you can improve your customer experience.