Most of the major supermarkets nowadays offer the option of shopping online. The benefits of this are immediately apparent, you get the convenience of being able to shop whenever you want, you don’t have to waste time driving to the supermarket, the goods are delivered straight to your door. However, not all online supermarkets are equal; some are better than others. This is a view of what I think are the necessary elements to make Supermarket Online Shopping success in the eyes of a shopper:
Range of choice – It’s crucial that shopping online does not limit my choice. I agree that it’s difficult for a retailer to supply the choice of the thousands of products available on it’s shelve; but if a shopper is looking for a particular brand that is not available, will he/she switch to a different brand .. or switch to a different supermarket. Remember, it’s just a different website they need to go to …
Product Selection Mechanism – How easy is it to choose a particular product the customer wants? Product Selection needs to be as simple as picking an item off a shelf. Finding a product needs to be as easy as walking down an aisle (actually it’s usually easier online if you don’t know which aisle you’re looking for). If a product is hard to find, it’s going to be hard to sell; and you’ll probably end up facing the wrath of the brand’s merchandising team anyway.
Ease of use – This is paramount for the website’s success. Most online stores pay great attention to the shopping process, but fail to dedicate appropriate time to the basket and checkout processes. It can be pretty frustrating having a coupon for a discount on your shopping and not knowing what to do with it; or completing your purchase without having used it. Don’t forget, the checkout process is the last step in the user’s experience with your website and giving them a bitter taste at this stage will cause a lasting impression.
Surprise the customer – This is advice I give to every retailer. Everyone has a pretty high expectation nowadays so go an extra step and surprise the customer. When we were running The Joke Shop, we would throw in a freebie with the customer’s order. It’s something everyone appreciates. Our last order from Tesco included some free microwave popcorn and Walker’s crisps. They are promotional items, so low cost (if not free) to the retailer and there’s no additional cost in adding the to the delivery. However they do add a sense of delight to the customer.
These are just a few thought I had, what else do you consider to be critical to your supermarket online shopping?