Beyond Amazon.com: The Battle for Full Basket Online Grocery
In An Overview of Shoppable Content Solutions we observed some trends in online grocery:
- more consumers want to find their groceries online vs. in a physical store.
- brands move from shoppable single products to shoppable solutions.
- solutions mature by adding directly to cart, bypassing product detail pages
- brands extend their value past the point of purchase because they know how, when, even why products are purchased
In this article we make a prediction:
Full Basket retailers will capture the majority of growth in online grocery
At first Amazon.com seems like an easy winner. Amazon.com dominates online grocery sales. But Amazon.com is a Half Basket platform when it comes to grocery. You can’t buy milk, eggs, ice cream or any number of other temperature sensitive items on Amazon.com*. However, you _can_ buy them on Amazon Fresh.
Even if brands don’t sell ice cream, eggs, milk, etc., they’re selling solutions now (#2 above). Grocery shoppers are not interested in half-solutions at 10 different retailers. Brands need to get them to a Full Basket retailer.
Full Basket Retailer: An online grocery retailer that sells more than 15,000 food products across temperature states and makes that full assortment available online.
The Competition is Formidable
Here is how a few eCommerce platforms stack up by looking at Assortment and Reach.*
Until recently retailers couldn’t reach consumers with a Full Basket solution, but that is changing as Walmart, Kroger, Amazon Fresh, Target, and Instacart (where we count 62 retailers) rapidly expand their footprint. Depending on where brands have distribution, this helps inform investment in on-site merchandising across eCommerce sales/marketing teams.
Online Grocery is More Measurable for Brands
In traditional grocery marketers are often left to draw correlations between huge point of sale datasets, weeks or months after those sales were made. To dream of knowing that Beth in Austin, TX just put your crackers in her cart because she’s using them in an appetizer for the Super Bowl tomorrow was absurd. Now, with Beth’s permission, brands can remind her to put them on just before serving to make sure they don’t get soggy (great experiences leads to repeat purchases). Early digital media focused only on impressions. eCommerce experts develop deeper metrics about the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the basket.
Don’t Let Perfect Be the Enemy of Good
Digital advertising has long been plagued with fraudulent impressions and clicks, unfairly driving up costs for advertisers. This is why it’s important for retailers to offer “proof of purchase” (conversions). The most common way to offer proof of conversion at scale is through affiliate programs. Affiliate programs are amped-up attribution models showing you the person did something (usually that they purchased a product) after reaching the destination site. Full Basket grocery platforms don’t have effective affiliate programs yet, so marketers are currently left with good metrics on half basket platforms and ok-to-pretty-good metrics on Full Basket platforms.
At Basketful we think brands and publishers should focus on Full Basket retailers, strongly consider reach, and push partners for transparency on conversion metrics before investing. You’ll see us continue to expand on all three.
Want to see the numbers run a different way or with a different set of retailers? Reach out and let us know.