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The resistance to shopping for groceries online is fading, so finds new research from Los Angeles-based Fusion Marketing, which tracked a 200 percent change in consumers’ willingness to try purchasing groceries online in the last year.
“We are witnessing consumer perception change from being reluctant to buy to testing the waters and making purchases,” explains Steven Muro, president and founder of Fusion Marketing, which works with fresh produce suppliers, associations and retailers to increase sales with customized, information-based, market-ready solutions. “Consumers typically aren’t spending a lot online overall. Our research conducted in 2013 and 2014 indicates that a larger percentage of consumers have made a produce purchase, but many spent under $25 per shopping occasion.”
As more consumers go beyond trial to making online purchases mainstream, the demand for increased speed, efficiency and simplicity will increase, according to Muro. Nevertheless, consumer behavior is changing and retailers should be prepared if they want to capture market share of the $9.5 billion grocery industry, which equates to more than $1 billion from fresh produce sales, he adds, citing Fusion Marketing research that finds consumers are moving beyond searching for information to actually making grocery and produce purchases.
Additionally, consumers are more open to receiving text messages and personalized ads from grocery retailers tailored to their shopping patterns. The latest findings bode well in light of comparing the same research conducted a year ago, when only 4 percent of consumers were purchasing groceries online and were not interested in receiving text messages from grocery stores regarding promotions or special pricing for fresh fruits and vegetables.
Consumers’ acceptance of online grocery shopping is shifting, so says Fusion's recent research, which found in the last year that shoppers were concerned about the food quality and receiving refunds for damaged or spoiled products, especially fresh produce. Fusion Marketing's latest research suggests that consumers’ concerns about freshness from online retailers are dissipating, due to their positive delivery experience along with the convenience and pricing of buying online.