Surfing the Ecomm Wave

Surfing the Ecomm Wave

The three things you need to know to shred the gnar

So here we are, at the tail end of 2020.  The calmer waters of pre-pandemic ecommerce seem like ancient history.  If you’re in the CPG ecommerce world, it’s tempting to pat yourself on the back for surfing what became our industry’s rogue wave.  While surfing certainly isn’t easy, a wave that’s three times the normal height can make any rookie look like a pro.  The good news is that the last 3 quarters have seen ripe conditions and those out riding the waves are honing their skills, learning what to do, and more importantly what not to do.  The gnarliest of the waves may subside a bit, but with 83% of current monthly active usersplanning to stick with grocery ecomm, the conditions will be primo to shred that gnar (we’ve always wanted to say that). Today we’d like to highlight three prominent trends and challenges that have emerged, why they matter, and how you can flip them into opportunities for your brand. 

1) Omni channel comfort: Bi-modal grocery is the new normal

75% of current online grocery shoppers still shop Brick and Mortar, highlighting the duality that has emerged.2  The ecommerce boom of 2020 will certainly stand out in text books and line charts for years to come, but a significant storyline will be the comfort and mainstreaming of omni-channel shopping.  Omni-channel is not a new term, and has been a broader retail consideration for the better part of the last two decades.  What is new though, is that 2020 seems to have demarcated it’s mainstreaming within the grocery channel.  

The venn diagram of online versus brick and mortar shoppers is getting smashed together at record pace.  A key lesson derived from this change in behavior is that from a digital marketing perspective, the convenience of a digital path to cart must also have portability into the physical store.  With 67% of all shopping events starting online, shoppable content is a key tool to create a clear, local, path to cart for consumers.3  It should allow the opportunity for online purchase for curbside pickup, or allow them to remember it for later alongside their weekly in-store trip when they prefer to pick their own produce.  Dominating the marketing experience with only an online carting option risks alienating the brick and mortar loyalists.  A thoughtful path to cart gives the consumer the choice.  

Photo by Atoms on Unsplash

2) Multi-retailer shopping: multi-store behavior persists

Nearly 9 out of 10 grocery shoppers are shopping at multiple stores, and that shows no signs of subsiding.4  Price, distribution, and quality are the top 3 key drivers of this behavior.5  Even amongst a pandemic, shoppers are still seeking the choice and variety of multiple stores from which to fill their pantry.  Nearly two thirds of consumers shop at three or more grocery stores in a two week period.6  

Retailer coverage is arguably the biggest consideration in how shoppable content delivers for a brand. On the surface it might be tempting to overlook coverage as long as the provider has a handful of the big national players, but that would be a mistake.  Robust breadth of retailers and store depth unlocks the ability to add your product to the local store that they were planning to go to anyway.  Quantity and quality of retailers is a key attribute in add to cart conversion—as the # of local retailer options increases, so does the conversion rate.  Areas with 4-7 local stores see Add to Cart rates 4% higher than those with 3 or less.  Areas with 8+ stores see 10%+ higher conversion rates.10 A solution that integrates with retailers that consumers already frequent matters.  

3) The experience killers: out of stocks & substitutions

We’ve all had our personal experience with online grocery, and a common frustration point emerges across nearly all experiential surveys: out of stocks & substitutions.  Despite the best efforts of supply chains straining to keep shelves in stock and delivery providers tasked with efficient picking, out of stocks frequently occur.  Even in non-pandemic times 1 in 13 items is out of stock7.  Nowhere is this more prevalent than on promotional volume– where the out of stock rate averages over 10%8, impacting the consumer, the retailer, and a significant merchandising investment by the brand. 

There is a solve however; this systemic issue can be mitigated upstream with a smarter online path to cart. Dynamically showing only the local stores that have your particular item/brand in stock avoids this pitfall, and protects not only the consumer experience but your digital investment.  Studies show that when an out of stock occurs, 85% of the time the consumer does not delay the purchase, they settle for a substitute9.  The last thing you want is to create a path to frustration, or worse yet–to your competitors product.  Traditional distribution and availability information that powers product availability in the industry is supplied by using syndicated data—the latency of which can be weekly, monthly, or even quarterly.  The frequency and quality of updates are critical to the experience.  Basketful’s item/store level availability is updated every 72 hours from over 60 retailers, giving it an industry best position to maximize the consumer experience, your brand fidelity, and your digital investment.  

Opportunities into Advantages

Momentum is on online grocery’s side.  These three themes are key opportunities that can be turned into advantages for your brand.  Consumers want to shop the way they are used to—both in-store and online, they want to do it at the retailers they’re already familiar with, and out of stocks are a pain for both consumers and your marketing ROI.  These are all solvable, and can give your brand a leg up in confidently shredding that gnar. (got to say it twice! Akaw!)

Learn More

Basketful helps create a smarter path to cart from Brand sites, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, or wherever your media is trafficked. Our shoppable links and Product Locators are location, distribution, and inventory aware across 60+ retailers and 14,000+ stores.   Our industry leading coverage spans Food, Beverage, Alcohol, Health & Beauty, Baby, Household and Pet brands.  Click the Contact button to learn more.


1November 2020 Online Grocery Scorecard, Brick Meets Click, Nov 2020

2Valassis 2020 Consumer Intel Report

3Nov 2020 MIT, The Future of OmniChannel Grocery

4,5Jan 2020 Basketful Shopper Survey

8Maximize the impact of point of sale data with Data-to-Action Analytics, Genpact, 2015

7,9Plugging Out-of-Stock Gaps in Consumer Goods, EKN/Microsoft, 2016

10Basketful, 1/1/20-12/9/20 Shoppable Landing Page performance



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