American are hungry and they want their food now. Restaurants have responded to the growling of customers’ stomachs with take-out from delivery app orders at a voracious rate. Convenience is a big factor in this segment of the market, but it isn’t driving up numbers in online grocery shopping yet.

Between 2016 and 2018, the latest available period, global downloads of the top five delivery apps grew 115 percent, according to eMarketer and research from App Annie, which explores how mobile is transforming industry. The uptick, eMarketer notes, is driven in part by QSRs (quick service restaurants) such as McDonalds with “McDelivery” in partnership with UberEats as well as Panera, Starbus and Chipotle.

Despite the fact that convenience has been billed as a major benefit, online grocery shopping hasn’t taken off because to date, many customers haven’t found it all that…convenient. A recent poll of more than 8,000 grocery shoppers nationwide, conducted by Bain & Co. and Google and reported in Supermarket News, found that of those consumers who shopped online for groceries at least once in the past 12 months, just 42 percent said the online experience saved them time.

One reason is that browsing digital aisles via a web browser is far less familiar and much more time-consuming than pushing carts up and down the aisles of a local grocery store. Another is that the physical, sensory experience of brick-and-mortar shopping is one of the most enjoyable elements of grocery shopping.

That said, online grocery shopping gets easier with use, familiarity with web pages and browsing layouts, and ease in re-ordering from past purchases.

As a way to attract and retain customers, Bain and Google recommend these pieces of advice:

  • Invest in acquiring shoppers not once but three or more times to convince them of the benefits of online shopping;
  • Experiment with bounce-back offers to encourage follow-up visits, reminders and multi-trip discounts to help consumers from trial to new-habit-forming adoption;
  • Make sure you can deliver satisfying, frictionless omni-channel experiences by investing in digital tools that save time for consumers whether they’re shopping online or in the store.

Devising a strategic plan to entice shoppers to switch to online ordering, combined with making the experience simple can lead to word of mouth marketing, ie the pinnacle of marketing. If you need help getting started, we’ve got the grocery insights and know-how as well as a team of professionals who can make that data actionable for your business.