Evolving shopper behaviors are dramatically shifting the grocery landscape. As food retail decentralizes and shoppers have more options now to get everything on their lists, where does their loyalty lie? We surveyed over 700 consumers to understand the role of loyalty in the omnichannel shopper’s experience, from brand to store and everything in between.
In this article, you will learn:
- The key differences in loyalty between the in-store, online and omnichannel shopper
- The top considerations for grocery shoppers and meal planners today
- The top drivers of brand loyalty…and brand swaps
Throughout this year we’ve sought to understand numerous facets of and influences on the omnichannel shopper’s journey, from digital planning and shopping to retailer preferences. The last in our three-part consumer survey series, this survey aims to clarify the role of loyalty in the omnichannel shopper’s experience, from brand to store and everything in between.
In this article, we delve into:
- How are consumers shopping for groceries? And how many consumers are really shopping online?
- How brand loyalty factors into list building and purchase habits throughout the shopper journey.
- What drives store loyalty across different demographics?
- How different audiences use digital retailer platforms and how they factor into store loyalty.
We surveyed 726 shoppers between the ages of 18 and 60 to hone in on how loyalty impacts their omnichannel shopping experiences.
Methodology: Chicory conducted this survey from October 6 to 7, 2021, and surveyed 726 total American consumers aged 18 to 60 years old.
How are Consumers Shopping and Planning?
While nearly four times more shoppers are in-store loyalists versus online grocery loyalists, nearly half (47%) embody the definition of omnichannel shopping and use both online and in-store grocery.
How have you purchased groceries in the past 60 days?
- 11% Online Only
- 42% In-Store Only
- 47% Both (Online and In-Store)
Let’s go further back into the shopper’s journey: before purchase comes inspiration and planning.
Where does inspiration happen and how does this vary by shopper?
- Of those surveyed, most consumers (41%) are not only omnichannel shoppers but omnichannel planners.
- In-store only shoppers were also most likely to be offline planners (51%).
- Accordingly, online-only shoppers were most likely to meal plan online (42%), showing that adoption of major technologies impacts the entire buyer’s journey from inspiration and planning to purchase, regardless of where they shop.
- Families with three to four members — the average household size in the U.S. — were most likely to do all of their meal planning online (27%).
How do you do your meal planning?
- 37% Offline (pantry check, cookbooks, write my list, ask my family)
- 22% Online (shopping list app, meal planning app, digital recipes)
- 41% Both (Offline and Online)
How do shoppers meal plan based on how they have shopped for groceries in the last 60 days?
What Determines Brand Loyalty for Omnichannel Shoppers?
Every CPG brand — or any brand, for that matter — wants loyal customers. To get a better grip on this industry-wide goal, we surveyed respondents on how they think about a brand, when and why it is replaced, and if this differs by in-store or online shopping.
Outright, 84% of all shoppers surveyed have specific brands in mind when creating their shopping list. This loyalty — the biggest hurdle in new customer acquisition — is a path toward higher lifetime value.
- Online-only shoppers were 3.5 times more likely to be loyal to brands, with 93% having specific brands in mind when creating their shopping list.
- Shoppers who only shop in-store, on the other hand, were least likely to have specific brands in mind, at 21%. Shoppers physically perusing the in-store aisle are more susceptible to being influenced during their shop than digital or omnichannel shoppers, who are more loyal.
Humans are creatures of habit, but this logic seems to apply less to planning one’s grocery shop than one might assume. Only 6% of shoppers take habit as their top consideration for purchasing a product repeatedly.
- Price was the top consideration for all shoppers surveyed when it came to repeat purchases, at 32%, followed by taste and nutritional health, respectively.
- Older Millennials — respondents aged 30 to 44 — cared most about brand values and social purpose when considering repurchasing products.
- Gen Z and young Millennials — respondents aged 18 to 29 — were 1.2 times more likely to care about the nutritional health of a product than older Millennials, and 2.2 times more likely than Gen X and young Baby Boomers.
- Online-only planners were 6 times more likely to be loyal to brands than offline-only planners. And omnichannel planners were 3.4 times more likely to be loyal to brands than offline-only planners.
Do shoppers have specific brands in mind when creating their shopping lists based on how they’ve purchased groceries in the last 60 days?
Do you have specific brands in mind when you create a shopping list?
- Yes: 84%
- No: 16%
What is the biggest consideration for you in buying a product again?
And while most shoppers have a specific brand in mind while planning their shops, 97% of shoppers have changed brands before purchase, whether online or in-store. But what’s causing shoppers to swap brands?
- Interestingly, despite major supply chain issues in the last year, out of stocks and product unavailability were nowhere near the top reason for brand swaps, at only 19%.
- The number one driver of brand swaps is the price (52%). The swap to store brand was the least popular reason (6%), proving that the chances of beating out private label are significantly higher once a brand is on the list.
- Online-only shoppers were least likely (2%) to select store brand items, indicating higher brand loyalty.
Why do you change the brand?
Choosing the store brand may have been the least popular instigator of brand swaps, but private label still holds approximately 20% of market share. Additionally, as a result of the pandemic, 46% of Americans have a more positive attitude towards private label. Thus we sought to understand in which categories store brand was most likely to earn a place in the cart.
- Snacks were surprisingly the top choice in selecting the store brand, at 62%.
- Non-fresh and shelf-stable items from household to frozen goods hovered within three percentage points of each other.
- Shoppers are least likely (35%) to buy personal care products from store brands.
Why do you change the brand?
In which categories are you most likely to buy store brand products?
How Does Store Loyalty Factor Into Omnichannel Shopping?
Finally, we investigated store loyalty, its driver of and impact on the use of digital retailer tools, including the retailer website and apps.
- Most shoppers are loyal to their store, at 83%.
- Convenience is the biggest factor in store loyalty (34%), followed by competitive pricing (25%) and preferred product availability (23%).
- Online-only shoppers are 14.7 times more likely to be loyal to the same grocery store than in-store only shoppers.
- Price drove store loyalty (39%) for online-only shoppers, while convenience naturally drove loyalty (37%) for in-store only shoppers.
- Gen Z and young Millennials are most loyal to their grocery store (92%), followed by older Millennials (89%) and finally, Gen X and young Baby Boomers (75%).
According to Epsilon, 88% of shoppers were only reachable off-site because those people simply didn’t visit the retailer’s site. We sought to understand what kind of shoppers were being reached where.
- 59% of shoppers who had not visited the retailer’s website or app in the last 60 days were in-store only shoppers and 79% were store loyalists.
- Online shoppers are 1.9 times more likely to have visited the retailer’s website or app in the last 60 days than offline-only shoppers.
- Store loyalists were 1.5 times more likely to have done so.
- Of shoppers who had not visited the retailer’s website or app in the last 60 days, 57% did their meal planning online, but not on the retailer’s platforms.
Do you always shop at the same grocery store?
- Yes: 83%
- No: 17%
Why do you always shop at the same grocery store?
Going Beyond the Grocer
More consumers are hybrid shoppers than ever before, resulting in the decentralization of grocery. Consumers are no longer just looking to the physical store as their one-stop shop. As a sub-sector to online grocery, subscription services play a huge role in that.
- 73% of shoppers reported using subscription services for grocery shopping in the last 60 days.
- Shoppers who meal plan online are nearly 14 times more likely to use subscription services as part of their grocery shopping planning mode.
- 49% of shoppers surveyed reported having used meal kits or pre-made meals.
- Large families — five members or more — were most likely to use subscription services for personal and home care items.
As grocery continues to decentralize, reaching shoppers in contextually relevant environments will be more important than ever in order for brands to make it on the list and more importantly, into the basket.
7 out of 10 shoppers have used grocery subscription services in the last 60 days.
What type of subscription services for grocery shopping have you used?