A shift in behavior: consumers look to online for grocery

Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Even after the pandemic ends, nearly half of the consumers surveyed said they will continue to avoid human-manned checkouts, according to a study from Bazaarvoice.

The online content engine and reviews platform released the survey as part of its “Supermarket 2025” e-book. The research report takes a deep dive into an industry — e-commerce grocery — that it says traditionally has one of the lowest adoption rates. However, when the pandemic hit, usage quadrupled, creating a large shift in consumer behavior around e-commerce.

The survey in the report addressed this behavioral shift finding that a third of Americans noted curbside pickup and click and collect were most appealing when it comes to grocery shopping and avoiding crowds. A third also believed the way to improve their biggest supermarket frustration — self-checkout machines — was to deploy more robust technology like curbside pickup and mobile pay to avoid self-checkout hiccups.

However, a key to online shopping is data, and while shoppers might be growing into a desire to do more online shopping, per the study, they won’t do it in exchange for their data. The survey found 63% of the U.S. shoppers surveyed would not exchange their data for a more personalized shopping experience in five years. 

On the flip side, 57% of respondents said that in the next six months they do want more personalized deals, offers and loyalty programs, saying it's "the most appealing retail innovation." The findings highlight a crossroads in that consumers want a more personalized experience, but there’s still a need for privacy and a clear line to draw in between.

For more, the “Supermarket 2025” e-book is available at the Austin, Texas-based company’s Bazaarvoice site.