In the wake of the pandemic’s unprecedented disruption to the grocery business, a new consumer has emerged — hybrid shoppers who are using both in-store and e-commerce to fulfill different purchases. But not all hybrid shopping behaviors are the same, points out Barbara Connors, vice president, Commercial Insights at The Kroger Co.’s 84.51°, the grocery giant’s retail data science, insights and media company. She joined us for our latest SN Off the Shelf podcast to share insights about these shoppers and how retailers can best engage with them.
“E-commerce engagement has doubled since pre-pandemic times and hybrid shoppers have also doubled,” she said. “This trend will continue to grow as adoption and trial continues to expand across different customer groups. And really what this means for the industry is that, we've come to a point where e-commerce is now mainstream and it will only continue to become a more important part of brand strategies.”
Delving into the profile of digital shoppers, 84.51° identified several commonalities: They trend Gen X and younger, have higher incomes and have children. They are high-convenience shoppers and medium to high natural and organic shoppers. Beyond these common traits, however, two distinct household types emerge: what 84.51° calls the “digital champ” and the “digital dabbler.”
“The digital champs are really those customers that have sort of moved all in and the dabblers are those that are still sort of trying it out and figuring out what they like and how it's going to fit in,” said Connors. “Overall, we do see that e-commerce shoppers tend to be younger, tend to have children and tend to value convenience. But within that when you dig in, we say these digital champs, those that are at the high end of the spectrum, they're a quarter of the households but they represent 61% of sales. And so it's really important that strategy meets the needs of them because winning with them is what's going to drive your overall growth today. They also tend to place a higher priority on health”
“On the flip side,” she added, “the dabblers are 14% of households but they're only 10% of the spend. They tend to be larger households and they also tend to have higher price sensitivity. So if you think about what we could do to engage them differently, instead of focusing as much on health benefits, it can be really prioritizing how you're showing value and how you are helping them to make fiscally responsible choices for their family or their budget.”
Connors shared deeper insights into both these groups, including generational and lifestyle trends, as well as the importance of omnichannel strategies for retailers and manufacturers. Tune into the podcast to learn more from 84.51°.