Why Grocers Refer a Third-Party Solution for Preventing Spoilage
CONSUMERS DON’T TRUST REFRIGERATED DELIVERY
Fully 26% of online shoppers in a recent study say that frozen foods didn’t meet their highest standards for quality and freshness. If you’re jumping onto the home delivery bandwagon, you need to assure your shoppers that you adequately protect the quality and freshness of frozen and refrigerated foods.
SHOPPERS ARE SKITTISH
New research by the Retail Feedback Group (retail feed back.com), Lake Success, N.Y., reveals that shoppers are skittish about home delivery of these products.
Survey respondents were asked to rate, on a five-point scale, the following statement: “The items I received met my standards for quality and freshness.” Some 26% of those surveyed rated frozen foods between one and four. Multiple responses on a list of segments were allowed. Here are percentages for other refrigerated departments and categories: dairy, 24%; meat, 24%; fresh deli, 20%; fresh prepared foods, 17%; and seafood, 13%. Produce came out the worst, with 39% of shoppers ranking it between one and four.
Brian Numainville, a principal at RFG, notes that while frozen and refrigerated foods were not studied in depth in the research, “the issue of a lower scoring quality rating might be centered around the cold chain and ensuring that the product stays stored at the proper temperature during the delivery and/or pickup process.”
NO VISIBLE PROCESS
He adds that “If there isn’t a clearly visible process that provides assurances to the customer that the product remained cold after the picker pulled it and/or during delivery, there may be questions about the quality of the product.” Numainville says that much of this might be tied to shopper perceptions rather than reality, since key parts of the delivery process are “invisible” to the customer. “I think retailers need to clearly illustrate what they are doing to ensure that the product remains at the proper temperature in the process between picking and pickup/deliver,” he states.
When it comes to overall satisfaction with ordering food and groceries online, Amazon came out on top with an average rating of 4.63 on the one-to-five scale. Walmart was next, at 4.41, followed by supermarkets and food stores, at 4.32. Those are still decent scores, and the study notes that about half of online shoppers plan to buy groceries online more often in the coming year
“Clearly, Amazon has effectively leveraged its deep roots in online retailing to inform their efforts in online grocery, leading to the strongest ‘highly satisfied’ marks found in our research,” according to Numainville. “Walmart, although registering lower than Amazon on overall satisfaction and on several of the elements measured, also scored meaningfully higher than supermarkets/food stores in several areas core to their brand, including value, as well as identifying and receiving discounts.
It appears supermarkets and food stores have work to do to improve their scores in online grocery shopping relative to these retailers.” The study also sought to understand the perceived strengths of grocery shopping online versus in-store. Consumers in the study indicated that online grocery shopping strengths include making the most efficient use of their time and more convenience. On the other hand, respondents said that in-store shopping strengths included providing products best meeting standards for quality and freshness, offering a better selection of products for shopper needs, making shoppers feel more valued as a customer, providing better customer service, showing the company knows and cares about food, and providing more value for the money spent. A few areas including pleasantly surprising, enjoyable, and taking better care of securing payment and personal information, received more of a balanced assessment across both types of shopping.
LEVERAGE YOUR STRENGTHS
Doug Madenberg, RFG principal, states, “While our research shows that in-store shopping currently holds a stronger position relative to online grocery shopping in quality and freshness, selection, service and value elements, brick and mortar retailers can’t afford to be complacent as online ordering could strive to reshape these areas in the future and negate some of these advantages. Further, retailers operating both online and in-store food retailing channels should leverage the strengths of each to their fullest advantage.”