In 2017, I'm not sure anything is more important for retailers, and grocers, than an online presence. Whether a company is an online startup or an established brick-and-mortar retailer, consumers are increasingly expecting digital offerings to enhance their shopping experience.
Direct online sales accounted for 11.6% of total U.S. retail sales in 2016 and digital touchpoints impacted nearly half of the nation's retail sales, according to data from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Forrester. This year, 54% of retailers say mobile is a top initiative along with marketing, site merchandising and omnichannel efforts.
When it comes to online grocery orders, over 30% of U.S. shoppers are likely to order groceries online in 2017, up from 19% of shoppers in 2016, according to the 2017 Grocery eCommerce Forecast from Unata and Brick Meets Click. Sixty-eight percent of customers who shopped online in 2016 say they are "somewhat" or "very" likely to switch grocers to one with a better online shopping experience.
Meanwhile, over 50 million U.S. consumers grocery shop online, and 20 million consumers who are current, lapsed or new to online grocery shopping plan to shop for food and beverages online more often over the next six months, according to a report from The NPD Group. Over 60% of consumers who shop for groceries online are completely satisfied by the experience, while 6% are neutral or dissatisfied.
Grocers need to leverage their online options to ensure customer loyalty. The world is becoming ever-more digital, and those who fall behind will end up losing to their competitors.