As the vacations and social events of summer give way to the steadier autumn months, grocers have an opportunity to win back consumers’ food spending in the home stretch of 2021. For consumers with kids, family outings may be replaced by school night dinners at home — and for childless adults, the excitement of summer may wear off, as consumers settle back into their at-home routine for the colder months.
Yet even as consumers return to home, grocers will have to work hard to earn their spending, given that consumers have more options than ever — takeout, delivery, meal kits and more are challenging grocers’ hold on the food-at-home category. To succeed, grocers will need to get smart about giving consumers what they actually want.
Part of what they want is to be rewarded for their loyalty. PYMNTS’ survey of over 2,300 U.S. consumers, featured in the report “What Consumers Expect From Their Grocery Shopping Experiences,” created in collaboration with ACI Worldwide, finds that 43% of consumers spend more at grocery stores that have loyalty programs. Additionally, 43% of consumers also report that loyalty programs impact their decisions about which grocery stores to use. Loyalty programs can even win back spending for brick-and-mortar-native grocery stores that have lost customers to eCommerce competitors. Four in 10 grocery shoppers report that loyalty programs would encourage them to purchase items that they now purchase online at their favorite grocery store instead.
They also want more flexible payment options, especially those that offer contactless convenience. More than half of all millennials and bridge millennials reported that they are very or extremely interested in paying with contactless credit cards, and almost half reported that they are “very” or “extremely” interested in using digital wallets, such as Apple Pay or Google Pay.
Plus, grocery shoppers do not just want flexibility in their payment options — they also want flexibility in terms of how they are getting their groceries. PYMNTS’ survey of over 5,000 U.S. consumers featured in “The Bring-It-To-Me Economy: How Online Marketplaces and Aggregators Drive Omnichannel Commerce,” created in collaboration with Carat by Fiserv, finds that 46% of consumers are buying groceries online more now than they were at the start of the pandemic. That portion skyrockets when looking at younger consumers. Two-thirds of millennials and bridge millennials and 70% of Gen Zers are doing more of their grocery shopping digitally.
“The unique situation that we believe grocers find themselves in is catering to these omnichannel customers,” Bobby Koscheski, head of omnichannel solutions, grocery and general retail at digital payments software company ACI Worldwide, told PYMNTS in a recent interview. He pointed to findings from the Omnichannel Grocery Report, a PYMNTS and ACI collaboration, indicating that while 80% of consumers still shop for groceries in stores, 64% use digital channels for grocery purchases.
“They expect to be able to get the use of their digital channels wherever and whenever they want — even when they’re in the store, in their car, at home, at work, whatever,” he added. “That’s probably the biggest thing that we see happening — this convergence of digital with the physical storefront.”