The Stock-Up Trip and Center-Store Items Make a Comeback as E-Commerce Grocery Shopping Becomes Mainstream

The Path to Purchase Institute recently released a summary of presentations on e-commerce strategies from its one-day symposium that was held on November 19, 2015. One important topic covered was the massive growth anticipated in grocery e-commerce.

According to William Bishop Consulting, currently only 2.3% of core brick-and-mortar grocery shoppers are also shopping for groceries online. However, that figure is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.1% from 2013 through 2018, according to Business Insider Intelligence Research.

William Bishop Consulting also reported some interesting initial findings on how early-adopters are using online grocery shopping. Its eCommerce SuperStudy revealed the early impact of e-commerce on traditional brick-and-mortar stores. Survey findings challenge conventional thinking of e-commerce eroding in-store sales.

Some highlights from the eCommerce SuperStudy:

  • Early-adopter e-commerce shoppers are spending more than their counterparts ($141 versus $102 per receipt)
  • 90% of e-commerce orders are stock-up trips, compared to just 15% of stock-up trips at brick-and-mortar stores
  • Online shoppers are shopping the entire store, a contrast to the typical in-store racetrack pattern, and shopping about 20 to 25 categories per visit
  • A large amount of e-commerce sales at supermarket chains are incremental and recapturing center-store sales that grocers had lost over the years

The study did contain a potential watch-out for brands as well. Online shopping isn’t necessarily broadening shoppers’ consideration sets. Fewer than half of the available SKUs are driving 95% of online sales.

So what’s a brand to do? As the new world of grocery e-commerce becomes mainstream, it will be important for CPG brands to remain a go-to choice with consumers, have a robust and separate e-commerce retail strategy, and partner with grocery retailers as their e-commerce infrastructures evolve.