Consumers are seeking speed and convenience when shopping for groceries online, with a survey of 2,000 UK shoppers found 54% expect their groceries to be delivered within the same week and 9% expect to receive their groceries on the same day when they order online.
New research from end-to-end managed services provider Ensono shows that Younger generations are leading the way in the search for faster deliveries.
Eighteen percent of those aged 25 and under who buy groceries online expect them to be delivered on the same day of order, compared to just 4% of 56- to 65-year-olds.
New app-based groceries-on-demand providers in urban areas now promise delivery in under an hour – some as fast as 10 minutes. These services seem to be most popular with younger shoppers. Ensono’s research found younger generations were significantly more willing to try groceries on demand during the pandemic, with 13% of 18-to 25-year-olds trying groceries on demand against just 3% of 46-to 65-year-olds.
More customers than ever have turned to online channels to buy groceries. Ensono’s research found an 81% rise in UK consumers doing all or most of their food shopping online since the pandemic started. According to The Office for National Statistics, UK online sales hit 27% of total retail spending in April 2022 – down from its peak of 37.6% in February 2021 but far above 19.9% in February 2020 before COVID-19 pandemic.
The problem grocers face is reliably meeting this heightened online demand. Since the pandemic began, 28% of consumers doing online shopping have not been able to choose the deliver slots they want. Just under half (49%) agree that while they are still able to online grocery shop, there are fewer delivery slots compared to before the pandemic.
Supply chain disruption is an ongoing challenge facing grocers. Driven by factors including the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing geopolitical tensions, such uncertainty can prevent food from reaching shelves on time. Grocers have witnessed the consequences of failing to navigate supply chain disruption. In the run up to Christmas 2021, 71% of consumers reported seeing shortages in stock in major supermarkets.
Simon Ratcliffe, Principal Consultant at Ensono, said: “We are living through an unprecedented era for grocers. Whilst we have seen customers flock back to stores in recent months, the online shopping habits forged in the pandemic are here to stay as a critical part of modern retail. In this hybrid shopping era, customers are craving convenience and a service that delivers a seamless, reliable, and memorable experience between in-store and online.
“Grocers need a technology stack fit for the demands of the modern consumer. Cloud-native systems are crucial to address shoppers’ ongoing concerns about performance and availability, providing grocers with scalable computing capacity to deliver consistent and efficient global performance – whatever the level of customer demand. Cloud-native is set to become the linchpin of modern businesses: by 2025, Gartner predict more than 95% of new digital workloads will be deployed on cloud-native platforms. These solutions need to be matched with reliable back-end technology, including high-capacity mainframe systems that support vital parts of the grocery supply chain. With the right technology in place, grocers can provide consumers with a personalised experience whether in-store or online.”