Published September 24, 2021
Consumers are looking for more options and more control—how will your grocery chain respond? Taking care of your customers has always been a priority for business owners, but recent changes have made this difficult to achieve. Digital shopping should be easy, affordable, and convenient for retailers and their customers. There are many Ecommerce solutions on the market, but how do you choose?
Online Ecommerce solutions are becoming essential for grocery chains, with online grocery purchases increasing 54 percent in 2020, an approximate $30 billion increase. Customers that are concerned with efficiency and convenience can now access their local grocery chain using their desktop computers or other mobile devices—and advancements in Ecommerce solutions allow retailers to sell products, advertise and incentivize their customers under one umbrella.
When it comes to the safety and convenience for your customers and your store, you don’t want to settle for sub-par solutions. Many existing Ecommerce solutions are taking over retailers’ brand image and customer experiences – ultimately leading to stores shutting down. Here’s what to look for in reliable Ecommerce solutions that keep your stores running from end-to-end.
You’ve worked hard to make a name for your grocery store chain and develop a brand voice that resonates with your customers. Whether shopping online or in-store, consumers should be able to distinguish your business from your competition, and your branding plays a major role—even seemingly minor details such as brand colors can increase brand recognition by as much as 80 percent. Yet some online and mobile Ecommerce solutions, such as Instacart, won’t allow retailers to make a truly lasting impression on their shoppers.
Related: 4 best practices for grocery digital transformation
There’s a clear motive for grocery deliver service companies to place their own branding at the front and center. Shoppers will remember them first and the unique look and feel of your online grocery will be secondary. This arrangement is not ideal—after all, if you’re providing the products and services, you should get a say in how they are presented. Promoting your own branding can create trust between you and your customers, encouraging them to explore other buying and browsing options with your business—while giving you more control over your pricing.
And both online and mobile Ecommerce software can present opportunities for you to promote your brand while selling your products. When you’re customizing your Ecommerce software, you can implement a number of landing pages, which can convert into more purchases from your new and existing customers. These landing pages can include weekly ads and sales pages that incentivize customers with discounts or other promotions. Each page can contribute to engaging with and retaining your customers while using your specific branding style.
If you’re concerned about your brand, look for an Ecommerce solution that prioritizes your business, not your software. This means that your branding will be distinguishable and consistent no matter the channel—whether your customer is shopping on their laptops, tablets or mobile phones. Remember, when it comes to retaining and recruiting customers, your voice matters. With effective Ecommerce software, third-party shopping applications and businesses can work together in harmony.
Customers who use mobile grocery services are looking for a seamless online experience from start to finish. From the moment they open the app, to their checkout and delivery, using your online or mobile grocery platform should be quick, easy and memorable.
There are plenty of Ecommerce software options on the market, each giving you different levels of control over your customer’s shopping experience. In addition to developing your branding, you may want to customize what your customer sees and how your customer interacts with your online or mobile store. Some Ecommerce solutions come with existing processes that may be difficult to tailor to your business, while others prioritize personalization for your unique needs. With more control, however, comes more responsibility for management and maintenance of your software. That means you’ll also have to decide how much time and resources are available to dedicate to development, security or other technical details involved in your mobile and online applications.
You’ll likely want to make the big decisions when it comes to kinds of features that are available to your customers, so this is one of the most important considerations that you can make. Considerations such as how you’d like your products arranged, how your brand voice is used throughout the application or which promotions are prioritized are integral parts of the customer experience. Ideal solutions will help you find a workable balance allowing you the benefits of fully-integrated Ecommerce software, while keeping you and your business in the driver’s seat.
There’s nothing more frustrating than mediocre customer service or software that won’t perform. Great software, backed by accessible technical support, will be key to setting up and maintaining your mobile store. Still, you’ll have to make sure that these services fit within your budget. The good news is that there are several options on the market that can be customized to fit your needs and price range.
Related: A shift in behavior: Why grocery shoppers are going digital
Many Ecommerce software solutions will boast an intuitive user interface, great security or customer support – but these can come with a hefty price tag. A mobile platform can be a lucrative addition to your grocery store, but initial set up costs can be an obstacle for some businesses. For mid-size grocery chains, you’ll need a mobile software solution that can handle several thousands of customers per day making hundreds of thousands of purchases. You’ll also want to account for promotional landing pages, built-in loyalty programs and more sophisticated branding and advertising than typical mom-and-pop stores.
Remember, Ecommerce solutions open the door to more customers and much higher revenue, which can offset some of the cost involved in implementing an application for your grocery chain. So even if you’re on a tight budget, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality. It’s possible to design a mobile shopping experience that is user-friendly and that won’t break the bank.
Every business owner is interested in growth. In a few years, your business may change in size, scope or expand its service or product offerings. It’s important that your online shopping software can keep up.
Customizing your Ecommerce software can be a major lift, especially for retailers with several chain stores across a wide geographic range. The introduction of Ecommerce software can mean more customers and higher traffic volume—which also means more resources, increased inventory and more orders for your grocery chain to manage.
For some software providers, that means involving developers to restructure your Ecommerce application, which can be costly and even cause service disruptions. Scalability is critical to the long-term success of your business, and is an inevitable feature for any retailer that expects to grow their business in the future.
Not every Ecommerce solution is built with scalability in mind, which calls for some diligent research on your part. Good mobile software will meet your current needs while providing opportunities for larger inventories, more complex features and higher volumes of customers. And a central concern in all of this is making sure that your Ecommerce solution integrates with your existing store systems so that your customers have a consistent shopping experience in every channel.
Mobile Ecommerce solutions span several industries from fashion to technology, and some are designed with these industries specifically in mind. If you’re interested in expanding your grocery chain, you’ll want to find software that understands the needs of your business.
Learn more: The new store of tomorrow and how retailers can adapt
Grocery store users share some key similarities, including what they want out of their mobile shopping experience. Mobile Ecommerce grocery solutions are often set up to offer visual catalogues, recipe builders, item descriptions and the like – all features that can improve your online store’s usability and function. Some software options also allow customers to create shopping lists or save commonly used items to their account for easy access. Your own Ecommerce store can offer as many or as few features as you’d like, and can be changed according to your needs over time.
For mid-size grocery chains, your mobile solution should provide an experience that meets the growing expectations of your average customer. As Ecommerce platforms become more sophisticated and online shopping trends grow, your grocery chain will be held to high standards for ease-of-use, product offerings and a clear brand voice. Your online and mobile software should reflect this, while leaving room for customization as food retail trends change over time.
As a new normal starts to take shape, consumers will continue to order their groceries online mainly for the convenience of it. For grocers that means fine tuning and owning their own Ecommerce solution that gives them more control over their customer experience, pricing and their brand. So it’s essential for them to choose the Ecommerce e solution that understands their needs, their customer needs, and will benefit their overall brand.
Related: Is your grocery eCommerce solution stealing your brand identity?
David Wilkinson, President, NCR Commerce on the Future of Self-Checkout, POS & more