US ONLINE GROCERY SALES SOAR BUT CUSTOMER SATISFACTION PLUNGES
Online grocery retailers in the United States are seeing customer satisfaction plunge even as the total value of orders increases, according to results for January released by the digital consultancy Brick Meets Click.
In the wake of the findings, experts warned retailers they would have to improve customer experience if customers were to remain loyal.
Latest figures from the Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey indicate that total US online grocery sales were $9.3 billion in January, up $1.2 billion or 15% compared to November.
While sales soared a year on from when the coronavirus began pushing business online, customer satisfaction fell precipitously to 56% in January, down 32 percentage points on November’s figure, which was a record high.
Last month’s purchases, reflecting $7.1 billion in turnover for delivery or pickup services and $2.2 billion in ship-to-home turnover, were made by a total of 69.7 million households.
With experience not meeting expectations, according to Mercatus’s president and CEO, Sylvain Perrier, retailers “will face a challenge” in keeping hold of customers.
“To remain competitive with mass merchandisers, regional grocers need to enhance the digital shopping experience so as not to give their customers a reason to spend their money elsewhere,” said Perrier, whose company works with retailers that want to develop digital shopping channels.
“Grocers have to look at where they can improve operationally, how they can efficiently scale to meet online demand, and which services will be most effective at revenue protection.”
The growth in online grocery sales in January was largely down to an increase in the number of households buying online, as this jumped 16%. The average number of monthly orders per active user remained stable at 2.8 and average order value actually dipped 11%.
In a statement, David Bishop, a partner at Brick Meets Click, said that while some grocers had capacity constraints, others were seeing sales rise as they took on more staff or expanded pick up services to more stores.
“While throwing more labour at the issue isn’t ideal, this, along with improving assembling productivities via enhanced pick-and-pack practices, is vital to remaining competitive in the near term and not inadvertently giving your customer a reason to shop elsewhere,” he said.
The survey was carried out by Brick Meets Click between January 28 and 31 and is based on results from 1,776 adults.