Kellogg Dissects New Breed of ‘Brick & Order’ Shoppers

By Pat Lenius

Craig Geiger, Senior Manager, Insights & Planning for the Kellogg Company, uses the term “brick & order” to refer to shoppers who order online or by phone and then pick up their purchases at the store. He said 39% of retailers that offer online purchasing report that during the pickup trip to the store, the customer also shops inside the store.

“That is a basket plus. If your product is in an impulse category, you may still be in the basket for an online shopper,” he said, adding that more than half (51%) of grocery sales are influenced by digital, and that will increase.

Those were among the insights that Geiger gave during a recent presentation in Chicago at the Shopper Insights & Retail Activation conference hosted by KNect 365, an Informa company.

Geiger urged shopper marketing executives in the audience to move quickly to attract brick-and-order customers. A few years ago, 83% of grocery business was done by brick-and-mortar stores. One in four households buy some groceries online today, he said. 

“It’s still a very brick world, but it’s becoming an order world,” he noted. “There’s been a big ramp-up in the online share of food and beverage category spending.”

He told the audience that they have “an extraordinary opportunity to connect in a world incredibly interesting. Inspire and incite with insight to create some change.”

Geiger shared the following statistics about online shopping:

  •   9% of consumers report using an online service for groceries every week.
  • 19% use an online service two to three times a month.
  • 14% use it once a month.
  • 16% use it once every two to three months.
  •   9% use it less often than every two to three months.
  • 58% of online grocery shoppers use more than one online service to purchase food and groceries. 
  • 64% of online shoppers said they would switch to an online service that provides a better online shopping experience.

Customers are driven to buy groceries online by insights and emotions, according to Geiger. Brick & order shoppers say online shopping is a better experience because they have access to more product information and it is a stress-free experience.

A stock-up trip was the primary reason for buying groceries online by 25% of online shoppers in 2017; this grew to 38% in 2018, he noted. The top trial drivers to encourage online grocery shopping are incentives such as coupons, coupled with consumer curiosity and convenience/availability.

But other consumers still prefer the brick-and-mortar store, Geiger acknowledged. They feel they can get better quality produce and will enjoy the shopping experience more in an actual store. They appreciate free samples and the exposure to new products. In fact, recent research found that 61% of consumers still find shopping in a store enjoyable and 57% say grocery shopping is a fun day out for the family. 

Shipping costs are one of the key barriers to online grocery shopping, he pointed out.  Consumers want free shipping. Also, 55% of shoppers expressed concern about food freshness in an online shopping environment, and 47% mentioned the preservation of frozen foods could be an issue.

When consumers shop online for groceries, 37% have a list of items in mind; 36% will still make impulse buys; and 30% have a written list, Geiger said. He added that 35% will write a review of their online shopping experience on social media and 34% said they purchased a digital gift card at a retailer.

Among Amazon Prime customers, 24% have bought groceries online; 24% bought groceries online in the last three months; and 62% said they are buying more groceries online this year compared with last year.

Who writes the online copy for grocery ads that are targeting the online shopper? Geiger asked. Does the copy provide enough information? The customer will want to know how heavy the box or package is. Include a picture that shows a person holding the box or shows how it looks in the freezer or cupboard. It is not enough to just show the box. Does the packaging include an inner bag? What does it look like? Does it reseal? How is the product used?

Geiger noted that when food retailer Meijer promotes Eggo waffles, it includes ideas and recipes that suggest it is fun to eat waffles.

He offered advice to both trading partners. Manufacturers should order groceries online from their retailers to assess their performance. He advised retailers to reinforce the idea of shopping in the store to their online customers while they wait to pick up their order. Encourage other customers to try online grocery shopping by offering incentives such as free shipping.

Geiger’s other advice:

  • Develop an enhanced online presence.
  • Be sure to have a knowledgeable, creative copywriter for online marketing.
  • Provide more information. It’s not enough to say the obvious like potato chips are crunchy.
  • Provide recipes and serving ideas.
  • Engage the customer with more detailed and inspirational content.

“The loyalty window is now open, but it will close rapidly,” he said. 

                                                                        Mid-July 2018