Online Grocery Shopping Is On the Rise in Europe

online grocery

Despite many looking east to China or west to the US for ideas about how grocery ecommerce could develop in future, European retailers are increasingly creating new solutions that meet the needs of their shoppers.

By Jon Wright – Head of Retail Insight, IGD

These offers use insight and knowledge of individuals and shopper groups to create unique solutions that are differentiated from global ideas, helping them to drive engagement and sales online.

UK and France lead the way, but growth seen across the region

Looking at our channel forecasts for several European countries, we are anticipating continued online growth opportunities across mature Western European markets. In the UK, France, Germany and Spain we forecast online grocery retailing will be the fastest growing channel, with it gaining market share in all of these countries.

Barriers to shopping for groceries online

When we speak to UK shoppers as part of our ShopperVista service, most people who claim to ‘never’ shop online for their food and groceries do so as they prefer to pick individual fresh items themselves. There are also a significant number who prefer shopping in physical stores as they are potentially conveniently located and because they enjoy the experience. Finally, there are those who like the choice that stores provide them, feeling that they always buy the same items online.

How retailers are overcoming shoppers’ challenges to buying online

Converting shoppers who remain unconvinced about grocery ecommerce need to focus on convincing them about the benefits of online grocery shopping. To overcome these challenges, retailers are focusing on three main areas:

  • Spotlighting the quality of fresh ranges to support the wider offer
  • Making shopping online convenient
  • Providing choice to inspire shoppers more

Spotlighting fresh ranges

With local becoming a growing shopper focus, retailers that can market their buying from small and medium producers online, as they do in-store, are likely to gain. Carrefour Belgium has been highlighting and selling ‘local products’ in its hypermarkets and supermarkets for five years. To support its online growth, the retailer decided to mirror the shop-in-shop-like concept online as well. To enable this, Carrefour worked with 750 local producers, who offer up to 11,000 products in its physical stores, depending on the season.

To enable shoppers to find these local ranges online, Carrefour has added an extra tab to its web site, which shows the local products available through their store. All products are grown in a 40km radius of the selected store, underlining its local focus. Shoppers then order the products as part of their standard shop, with products made available either for collection or delivery.

Elsewhere, we have seen Amazon promote its commitment to quality and freshness by guaranteeing products’ freshness, highlighting how it ‘hand-select’s everything for you’. Meanwhile, to promote delicatessen and fresh produce sourced by local producers and suppliers, Amazon France launched a shop-in-shop, La boutique des Producteurs. The extension added almost 2,000 grocery products to its assortment and allowed small and medium sized producers to ‘get involved in the digital economy’.

You can read the entire article in the Jan-Feb print issue of Frozen Food Europe magazine.

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