Traditional brick-and-mortar grocery stores should work to improve their customers’ online experiences, according to research conducted by ecommerce service provider Fluid.
“Stop designing traditional ecommerce flows,” said Bridget Fahrland, VP of client strategy for Fluid, in a conference call hosted by Wells Fargo to discuss the company’s research. “It looks like [supermarkets] went out and looked at the top Internet retailers, like Amazon.com and Best Buy, and tried to imitate that, rather than trying to create an experience modeled on the way people shop for groceries.”
Food, she noted, needs be presented with strong imagery, informative descriptions and more social interaction with other shoppers, such as through product reviews.
In addition, supermarkets need to work on efforts to personalize the experience through things like product recommendations and list building.
“Safeway and AmazonFresh do this to some degree, but there is still room for improvement,” Fahrland said.
Fluid conducted research by shopping at several online grocers to evaluate how they serve their customers, and found that New York-based FreshDirect was rated to provide the best overall user experience. FreshDirect, an online-only grocer that delivers to the New York and Philadelphia metro areas, was rated as having a strong, grocery-centric presentation and high product quality. It was also the only online grocer tested that offered wine recommendations based on purchases, Fahrland pointed out.
FreshDirect beat out Google Shopping Express, which not surprisingly offered strong searching and sorting features, but was considered weak on grocery-centricity. The other sites tested, in order, were Safeway, AmazonFresh, Peapod, Walmart to Go, Harris Teeter, and Whole Shopper, the online offering from Whole Foods Market.
The study concluded that some of the traditional supermarkets — including Safeway and Harris Teeter — have what Fahrland described as an “outdated interface.”
“Safeway surprised us with a higher score than we may have anticipated them getting, although they do need aoverhaul,” Fahrland said.