INTEREST IN SHOPPING BY COMPUTER HIGH: ON-LINE SURVEY

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Nearly three-quarters of consumers -- 74% -- responding to an on-line survey indicated their interest in home shopping via computer, with 27% of this group saying they would consider placing orders weekly and 47% saying they would use such a service once or twice per month.The 1997 New Shopping Solutions Consumer Survey, conducted by Retcom Technologies here on its "Net Sauce"

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Nearly three-quarters of consumers -- 74% -- responding to an on-line survey indicated their interest in home shopping via computer, with 27% of this group saying they would consider placing orders weekly and 47% saying they would use such a service once or twice per month.

The 1997 New Shopping Solutions Consumer Survey, conducted by Retcom Technologies here on its "Net Sauce" web site, www.mysupermarket.com, polled 1,014 consumers during the past year.

While conducting the survey on-line may have skewed results toward those predisposed to electronic commerce solutions, it did provide a picture of what's important to such consumers.

Even though home shopping has generally been associated with home delivery of groceries, a large minority of respondents -- 38% -- expressed an interest in at-store pickup of their orders.

When asked "If at-the-store order pickup cost significantly less than home delivery, would it make a difference in your answer?", 93% of respondents said it would make a difference. Of this group, 66% indicated a significantly lower price for at-store pickup would make a "big difference" and 27% said it would make "some difference."

Combining home shopping with home-meal-replacement deliveries may be a way to increase both types of sales. The survey showed that ordering HMR products via computer was a popular choice, with 70% of respondents indicating their interest. Of this group, 91% said it would be an advantage to be able to add groceries to their takeout meal orders, with 50% calling it an "important advantage."

Consumers are willing to pay for home delivery -- up to a point. Asked what they would pay for home delivery, 77% of respondents said the most they would pay was a range of $7 to $10 per order. Only 18% indicated a willingness to pay $10 to $13, with 4% in the $13 to $16 range and 1% in the $16 or more range.

Consumers want to pay even less for at-store pickup. For 83% of respondents, $3 to $6 per order was the most they would pay; 13% would pay $6 to $9, and 4% would pay $9 or more.

More than one-third of respondents, 35%, were willing to spend 20 minutes or more on-line to order their groceries. At the other end of the spectrum, 13% wanted to take only five to seven minutes to complete their orders.

Survey respondents were 77% female, a number that closely corresponds to the percentage of primary grocery shoppers who are women, according to Martin Sloane, president of Retcom Technologies. The company provides supermarkets with a variety of electronic commerce applications and services.