This may come as a surprise, but I’ve never ordered groceries online. And yes, I’m a millennial. There’s something about grocery shopping that’s meditative. I love perusing aisle after aisle in person and then using the self check-out. When COVID started, my local grocery store was filled to the brim with professional shoppers hurriedly scanning boxes of pasta and deciphering which brand of dried mangos to put in the cart, fulfilling a massive influx of online orders.

When Lucidworks ran a survey to understand shoppers’ plans and preferences in the coming year, I was surprised (and heartened) to see that a large majority (almost two-thirds) of shoppers are eager to get back to shopping in-store as restrictions lift—even though it’s no longer socially acceptable to pick up multiple pieces of fruit and lightly squeeze them before choosing your prize.

The survey found that shoppers’ hesitancy to go in-store will impact some industries more than others. The top three categories that consumers shopped online were apparel, grocery, and electronics. Once restrictions lift, shoppers say they plan to primarily purchase apparel and grocery in-store. Electronics, not so much.

Here are some quick survey stats:

  • 65% of shoppers buy groceries online and have them delivered
  • Online grocery shopping and delivery is slightly more common in the U.S. than in the U.K.
  • Respondents who identified as female are slightly less likely to online grocery shop compared to those who identified as male
  • 57% of shoppers have ordered directly from the grocer, and 38% have used 3rd party apps for ordering and delivery

Total ecommerce grocery sales in July declined by roughly $100 million dollars, mainly due to a drop in delivery sales. It’s possible that this swing back to in-person shopping has already begun. But if we know anything about the pandemic, we know things can change.

July 2021 e-commerce sales from Brick Meets Click and Mercatus. Courtesy of Brick Meets Click

July 2021 e-commerce sales from Brick Meets Click and Mercatus. Courtesy of Brick Meets Click


Here are three quick tips to enhance online shopping and delivery options for people who like to peruse in person and those who are keeping a distance from physical stores:

1. Start Your Ecommerce Engines

Grocery Outlet recently announced that they’ll begin testing ecommerce channels. A little late to the party? Yes, but still worth stating that at this point, ecommerce is non-negotiable. The good news is that we have a big book of examples from long-time ecommerce operators, like retailers, who have paved the way with recommendations to build effective online channels. Perishable items and t-shirts aren’t the same, but there’s still something to be learned.

Check out our Retail Trends ebook for inspo.

2. Explore Pickup and Payment Options

There are so many channels that customers can use to shop, pay, and pick-up. The survey revealed that the majority of shoppers want to keep some of the features that stores launched during Covid, things like curbside pickup and livestream shopping. Costco started testing curbside pickup back in January (with great success) and Giant Eagle recently just started using PayPal and Venmo as options for touchless payment.

3. Mirror Your Store Experience on Your Site

Imagine for a second how you go into Target. How many times have you walked out with things you didn’t go in for? If your answer is less than “every single time” you’re lying to yourself. Why does that happen? It’s partly because of how we browse the aisles. I know I need a toilet scrubber but within four feet of the scrubber I see a tool to clean shower grouts, bam add to cart. I need to get birthday wrapping paper for my husband, and I didn’t plan on putting candles in the chocolate chip banana bread loaf I made for him, but there they are. Bam, add to cart. Online grocery shopping should function the same way! Not only should shoppers be able to find the foods, pans, and homegoods they need, they should be able to discover the items they didn’t realize they wanted. Lucidworks has the technology to do that for grocers, retailers, enterprises and more.

Learn more about the tech that powers these delightful experiences online.

Take these three pointers to start shaping up your online grocery shopping experience and check out the full consumer survey here for even more actionable insights.

About Katie Florez

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