Groceries keep stores alive in digital age – research

2017-05-09 07:36 - Lameez Omarjee, Fin24
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Gareth Paterson, Nielsen South Africa head of retail services. (Picture Supplied).


Johannesburg - Despite growing popularity of online shopping, there is still a future for bricks and mortar in the retail industry, a survey by Nielsen revealed.

The survey was conducted in 63 countries and collected data on consumer behaviour and attitudes toward online and in-store shopping. It revealed that in emerging markets both in-store and online shopping is the future of retail.

Currently of the South Africans surveyed 53% said online purchases were for travel, 52% for event tickets. About 45% of respondents said they purchased books, music and stationery online, 40% bought mobile and IT products online. Fashion is purchased in-store more often, however 38% of respondents made online purchases.   

The research also shows that respondents continue to purchase fresh groceries, packaged groceries, medicine and pet food in-store.

Gareth Paterson, South Africa head of retail services, explained that being in-store influences purchases decisions for groceries the most, at 56%. This is followed by word of mouth, newspapers and magazines and then websites with coupons or discounts, at 30%.

“Our respondents cited online user reviews and blogs or special interest websites at the bottom of the list,” he said. Visits to the physical store are most influential for fresh groceries particularly.

Respondents would most likely purchase groceries online if they had a money-back guarantee if the products are not on par with their expectations. Other gimmicks include offering the same product for free for the next purchase, and other customised offerings.

For other product categories, digital platforms and social media help influence purchase decisions.

Of those surveyed, 51% said they would buy groceries at a physical store and would not consider buying online. About 40% of respondents are not buying groceries online would consider it in future. Only 6% of respondents have bought groceries online, and only 3% buy groceries online regularly.

When it comes to encouraging purchases, a full refund for products which do not meet consumer expectations is most influential. Other options include offering a replacement of the product on the same day, tracking of delivery online, or free delivery if a certain amount is spent.

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Read more about: nielsen  |  online shopping  |  e-commerce  |  retail