Andy Budd, MD, Clearleft
It’s little surprise to me that people are abandoning online grocery shopping in return for a more tangible experience. When online grocery shopping began, consumers were wooed by the idea of a hassle-free shop. Sadly, sites were so difficult to navigate it could take almost as long to shop online as in person. When your groceries finally arrive they’re annoyingly close to their sell-by date, or often you’re sent an irrelevant substitution. And you have to pay around £5 for this mediocre service.
People actually enjoy shopping. There’s a definite social element as well as a visceral one, and this is why some of the big-brand supermarkets have gone out of their way to design beautiful shopping experiences. Sadly the online world hasn’t caught up, with the major grocery stores offering the same utilitarian experience they always have.
Online stores must make shopping a lot faster and more convenient. They also need to design a web experience that, if not fun, is at least pleasing. Grocery sites need to have better design, improved product information and professional images. Comparisons and recommendations, nutritional advice and better mobile integration all have a part to play.
If online stores can’t match the physical experience of shopping, they should focus on what the web is good at. Otherwise shopping online will continue to be a poor substitute.