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More than half of online supermarket shoppers are switching suppliers to get better deals and better UX

Price, lack of click and collect, delivery times and speed, along with poor on-site search, have seen 19 million UK shoppers switch grocery supplier in the past year – seeing some £1.2bn of revenue change hands.

A study by Algolia finds that shoppers are increasingly disloyal to their online supermarkets as the cost of living crisis deepens, with price seen as a major driver for switching by 52%, delivery times by 29% and speed of delivery by 24%.

Most surprising, however, is that 34% of shoppers have ditched their primary online supermarket for a competitor that allows for better search, a figure that rises to 50% among 16 to 24 year olds.

The study goes on to find that supermarkets failing to offer an intuitive, fast and effective on-site search and click-and-collect option on their website may be losing in-store customers too as people adopt ‘hybrid shopping’ habits. 39% of shoppers say they would consider switching the supermarket they usually visit in person to another if it offered better online search, allowing them to check the availability of products in advance before visiting and/or make use of a click-and-collect service.

The news comes as a separate study by Spryker finds that as many as 60% of UK consumers are doing at least some of their grocery shopping online, with 16% now ordering most of their food on the internet.

Subrata Chakrabarti, VP Product Marketing and Strategy at Algolia explains: “It’s shocking that British supermarkets could be churning the equivalent of £1.2billion of annualised spend by not helping customers find what they need quickly through effective site search and personalisation. The boom in online grocery shopping shows no sign of slowing post-pandemic and we’re also seeing the rapid growth of instant delivery apps across the UK, meaning people are more demanding of speed and convenience than ever before.”

Chakrabarti concludes: “Every year, retail brands spend tens of millions on advertising to get people to their websites, so why wouldn’t you give them the best possible tools to quickly find exactly what they want once they’ve arrived? If supermarkets want to retain and attract customers – both online and in-store – taking site search seriously is a must.”

Quarter of UK food bought online

Much of this is echoed by ecommerce platform company Spryker in its UK Online Grocery Report 2022, which finds that 60% of UK consumers buy at least some of their groceries online, with as many as 16% doing the bulk of their food shopping there.

Interestingly, Spryker also finds that UX is holding back further expansion of online grocery shopping. It finds that 80% of UK consumers say they would do more food shopping online if the experience was improved, and 28% plan to shop mostly online within the next two years. Home delivery is further cited as the preferred channel (23%) over pick-up in store (6.6%).

When it comes to brand recognition, 77% of those surveyed recognised Uber Eats, putting it on an equal footing with Just Eat; Deliveroo followed in third place with 74%. However, despite considerable investment in the UK market, Amazon was only identified by 63% as an online grocery provider. Looking at newer challenger brands, Gorillas and Getir were recognised by 17% and 21% respectively, whilst other on-demand providers (Zapp, GoPuff, Jiffy, Weezy) fell between 5% and 15%.

“With the cost-of-living crisis shrinking consumer budgets, customers are increasingly looking for the best deals – both online and in-store. According to our research, shoppers at low-cost supermarkets are crying out for online services. These retailers could benefit hugely by offering internet ordering and home delivery,” commented Boris Lokschin, Co-Founder and CEO of Spryker. “The UK’s online grocery consumer has high demands, and they’re hungry for new experiences. If providers can deliver on product – with wider variety and higher availability – coupled with an exceptional customer experience, they stand to win these consumers over. One challenge they will face is ensuring existing in-store services remain viable as focus shifts online. To solve this, retailers should invest in technology infrastructure that seamlessly links on- and offline channels to ensure that customers keep coming back, whether in-person or digitally.”

Asda moves to improve UX

Asda, meanwhile, has gone public over its plans to improve UX for its consumers, teaming up with Salesforce to roll out a cloud-first environment that gives its 18 million customers one connected and consistent experience across every channel and device, no matter where or how they choose to interact with the brand.

As the business separates from Walmart, this new system will redefine the customer shopping experience, enabling Asda to select the most innovative, “best in class” technology and become a retailer of the future. The Salesforce technology will also enable Asda to deliver new online shopping experiences by building out its headless ecommerce architecture, enabling it to separate their front-end and back-end ecommerce applications.

Using PWA (Progressive Web Apps) and Managed Runtime technology, Asda will be able to launch a flexible and scalable, composable, headless architecture, giving Asda the freedom to build whatever and however it wants. It will also enable the retailer to use the latest coding languages and technologies, so it can attract and retain market-leading developers. Crucially, the technology will give Asda full control over the web experience to provide a world-class customer journey.

Simon Gregg, Asda Senior Vice President of Ecommerce comments: “Salesforce will help to transform the customer experience as we seek new world-class systems that will be cloud-first. Salesforce’s technology is perfectly aligned to deliver our vision of a true and exciting omnichannel experience that will set us apart in the UK retail sector.”

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