- Nearly a third of online grocery shoppers will remain on a retailer’s website or app to look for a substitution when a product they want is unavailable, but just 25% report getting a recommendation for an alternative every time they confront an out-of-stock situation, according to survey data released on Tuesday by data analysis company Lucidworks, which develops online search technology for retailers across a variety of sectors.
- Half of participants in the research said receiving an alert that a product was close to selling out would influence their decision about whether to buy it, and 80% of that group indicated they would be more likely to purchase an item if they knew it was in short supply.
- While online grocery shoppers reported they are open to substitutions in many cases, about 90% said they will not compromise on at least one item — and more than half “frequently or always” discover that items they want are out of stock, Lucidworks found.
The findings reported by Lucidworks indicate that consumers are placing considerable faith in e-commerce services operated by grocers when they head online to place orders.
Fifty-nine percent of respondents to the survey said they buy groceries directly from sites run by food retailers, with another 25% dividing their business between grocers’ own e-commerce sites and third-party platforms. But in a sign that shoppers place their shopping priorities above loyalty to a particular retailer, 47% of participants in the research said they will bolt to another grocer if they run into trouble finding what they need on the app or website they usually head to.
“As shortages and supply chain issues continue to affect grocers and as people have clearly demonstrated an affinity for their local grocer and wanting to shop there, it means that grocers really need to understand consumer intent” in order to run their online operations most effectively, Peter Curran, Lucidworks’ general manager of digital commerce, said in an interview.
The research findings underscore the importance for retailers of alerting shoppers when items they look for but can’t find are back in stock. Seventy-nine percent of respondents said they would like to be notified when an item is back in stock, with 66% wanting that notification via email, 44% by text and 20% by having the product automatically added to their cart.
Lucidworks surveyed 803 grocery shoppers divided about evenly between the United States and United Kingdom to reach its conclusions. All of the participants in the research, conducted in March, indicated they shop online for groceries at least once a month.
More than two-thirds (68%) of people who participated in the survey said they prefer to have their online orders delivered. That strong showing for delivery echoes data from Brick Meets Click, which found in March that grocery delivery sales in the U.S. rose more than 20% in March on a year-over-year basis. Pickup, meanwhile, saw its growth rate decline, Brick Meets Click reported.