The NGA / BRICK MEETS CLICK Digital Check-up for Grocery

June 2013

Food retailers traditionally compare sales ratios and operating costs with their competitors' numbers. In today's multi-channel environment, comparing your shoppers' digital readiness and your ability to engage is also important.



This NGA/Brick Meets Click benchmark check-up on digital shopper readiness and retailer engagement enables you to compare you and your shoppers' digital readiness with your peers. It’s the first release of data from an online survey of more than 22,000 grocery customers conducted by Brick Meets Click during the first quarter of 2013. (Both online and offline methods were used to recruit participants.) Shoppers from seven different banners located on the East and West Coasts and in the Midwest participated. The full report publishes in fall 2013.



MOST TEXT REGULARLY. More than 96% of shoppers surveyed have cell phones, and any customer with a cell phone can text. (No smartphone required.)

THE OPPORTUNITY: To reach shoppers while they are on the go, especially with time-sensitive messages.

WHAT SHOPPERS ARE SEEING. Promotions for immediate and time-limited offers (“5 to 7pm only today”). Promotions that encourage shopping during traditionally slow periods. Offers coordinated with times shoppers are looking for savings (like the end of the month). Text alerts when their prescriptions or deli orders are ready.


SMARTPHONE USE IS GROWING RAPIDLY.  People are using them to help manage their busy lives. This is particularly true for younger shoppers, but older shoppers use smartphones, too.

OPPORTUNITY: To engage shoppers two ways: while they are planning their trip, and while they are in the store shopping. Smartphones make it possible for retailers to expand their customer service offer.

WHAT SHOPPERS ARE SEEING: Mobile friendly websites, dedicated shopping apps, downloadable coupons, QR codes that deliver information in-aisle, shopping list assistance, self-scanning options, in-store mapping.





SHOPPERS ARE BUYING GROCERIES ONLINE– even when the retailer doesn’t offer the option. Online purchases still represent a small fraction of spending, but the percentage of shoppers buying grocery online is becoming significant as new options gain traction.

OPPORTUNITY: To save shoppers time and hassle.

WHAT SHOPPERS ARE SEEING: A way to find products quicker and easier, to handle routine purchases without having to walk through the store, subscription services for regularly purchased items. Home delivery and click-and-pickup options.





THE WEBSITE CAN BE A RICH HUB for digital shopper communications. Shoppers access them in many ways: via search, via links included in retailer emails, and via in-store promotion. Mobile apps are another important portal.

OPPORTUNITY: To find ways to deliver value when shoppers visit the site or use the app.

WHAT SHOPPERS ARE SEEING: On websites: Weekly specials mirroring the circular, recipe suggestions, menu help, online shopping options (if available), opportunities to personalize their profiles. In apps: in-store navigation, location-based promotions, shopping list support.


email610MANY READ GROCERY EMAILS that they sign up for. It’s a good way to push out weekly messages. Some retailers do more than others, visual appeal varies widely, and timing is important.

OPPORTUNITY: To drive up "open rates" so you can regularly remind shoppers about new prices and promotions, make the offer as personally relevant as possible.

WHAT SHOPPERS ARE SEEING: Weekly circulars via email, personalized offers based on loyalty data, special deals.

facebook-610FACEBOOK FRIENDS? 69% of shoppers surveyed were active on Facebook. Social media has become an easy way for people to share their experiences, including shopping. 

OPPORTUNITY: To tap in to a source of customer feedback and the power of recommendations. To alert shoppers to special offers and opportunities.

WHAT SHOPPERS ARE SEEING: Activity that ranges from none to alerts about promotions and special events, to full-on, real-time dialog between retailers and customers. Some retailers are intimidated by the lact of control in social channels, but others see an opportunity to up their customer service game.

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THE NATIONAL GROCERS ASSOCIATION is the national trade assocation representing the retail and wholseale grocers that comprose the independent sector of the food distribution industry. An independent retailer is a privately owned or controlled food retail company operating a variety of formats. Most are serviced by wholesale dristributors, while others may be partially or fully self-distributing.

BRICK MEETS CLICK delivers strategic insight and guidance that retailers, suppliers, and technology providers need to drive growth by better meeting shopper needs in today's multi-channel environment. Chief Architect Bill Bishop also founded Willard Bishop LLC. BMC's staff and partners combine a lifetime of experience in retail with a focus on how technology is changing the way people shop and what business can do about it.