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    Majority of Consumers Avoid Online Grocery Shopping: Fusion Mktg.

    Research further suggests limited usage of in-store mobile apps

    As tech-savvy consumers download coupons and compare prices via smartphones, many others are less inclined to use technology while they shop, so finds Fusion Marketing’s ConsumerInsights research.

    While 21 percent of consumers download apps from retailers, the majority said they would prefer not to receive personalized ads tailored to their specific shopping patterns, according to Fusion Marketing data, which found the same consumer group’s view of receiving retailer offers through text messaging to be too invasive on their privacy.

    “Our research suggests a limited usage of mobile applications in-store,” according to Steven Muro, president of Los Angeles-based Fusion Marketing. “Technology in the retail grocery industry is in its infancy. Consumers are looking for information on what is available, new and interesting. Saving consumers’ money and time will always be of interest.”

    In-store promotions and loyalty programs are traditional sales drivers of the grocery industry. Consumers enjoy receiving quick and easy savings with the swipe of their loyalty card and automatic savings at the register. Eight-five percent of consumers like receiving in-store promotions for grocery items, including fresh fruit and vegetables, finds Fusion Marketing’s proprietary ConsumerInsights research. Another 54 percent, meanwhile, claimed to like receiving non-retailer specific digital coupons because it conveniently saves money without the hassle of paper coupons.

    However, when it comes to grocery shopping, current consumers tend to be generally happy with how they purchase groceries and do not see the added value of online food shopping. Fusion’s research reveals that 96 percent of consumers do not purchase groceries online as a result of uncertainty about food quality and concerns with inability to receive refunds for damaged or spoiled products, especially fresh produce.

    Conversely, the customer base for online grocery shopping is expected to increase as the Millennial generation comes of age. Young professionals, young mothers and customers with time constraints see the value of saving time with online grocery shopping. Younger shoppers are more likely to use grocery apps that help them decide what to purchase at retail and online.

    “Involving the shopper with interactive, 3D game-like product imagery could help the online shopping experience, especially with Millennials,” said Muro, who suggests that retailers “involve the shopper with an interesting, visual experience while providing fast, useful product information.”

    Moreover, Muro added, retailers should consider offering targeted strategies to reach different consumer groups. It is important to understand customers’ expectations and how they access and view websites and apps. Smartphones lead market share in the mobile device market, but tablets are gaining share. Retailers ought to have a different strategy when trying to reach Millennials as opposed to Boomers, and should revolve their strategy around the technology their target consumer uses. Additionally, the competitive online landscape could change with Amazon’s recent expansion into fresh produce with AmazonFresh.

    Muro said guaranteeing product quality, creating consumer engagement, and helping customers understand what apps are available to help with their shopping experience are a few ways in which retailers can be successful with mobile marketing, strategies for which will require rethinking many aspects of business as online grocery shopping increases.

    Further, with rising demand for increased simplicity, speed and efficiency, retailers should consider offering something unique to their customer base while emphasizing selection and quality to remain competitive.

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