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Nearly nine in 10 retailers polled said they're actively improving in-store and online experiences for shoppers.

Omnichannel top of mind in grocery retailer technology investment

More dollars to enhance in-store and online experiences a high priority, Inmar survey finds

From midlevel executives on up, grocery retailers are well-attuned to where they need to invest to spur growth in today’s omnichannel marketplace, a new survey from Inmar Intelligence shows.

Of 300 U.S.-based grocery and retail brand executives (middle-management and higher) polled, 89% are actively improving in-store and online experiences for shoppers, Inmar said Wednesday. In turn, 87% deem technology investments to upgrade their e-commerce platform as a high priority in providing more engaging shopper experiences. 

Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Inmar noted that sharp growth in e-commerce is not lost on the survey respondents. The retailer and manufacturer technology service provider reported that Statista projected worldwide online buyers to top 2.14 billion by the end of 2021, and e-retail revenue to reach $5.4 trillion in 2022.

Executives also are cognizant of rising competition. When Inmar asked about the threat posed by third-party digital marketplace providers like Instacart, 85% of respondents said they think these platforms are trying to compete with them to eventually set up their own distribution centers. 

“We know from previous Inmar Intelligence surveys that shoppers are moving forward with a mix of in-store and online shopping, so this survey really took that a notch further and revealed how retailers are improving both in-store and online experiences to keep shoppers happy and meet expectations,” Rob Weisberg, senior vice president of e-commerce technology and services at Inmar, said in a statement.

Eighty-nine percent of retailers indicated they have a system in place to understand their customer experience to make sure that their in-store and online experiences get top-rated. Similarly, 80% said that they are using insights on in-store shopping behavior to personalize the digital shopping experience. Also to improve online shopping, 82% aim to invest in personalization technology and meal planning tools.

On the brick-and-mortar side, 85% are investing in dedicated, in-store spaces to handle fulfillment of online grocery pickup orders, which are rising in popularity, Inmar said. About the same percentage (84%) said they recognize the value of discount offers and plan to invest more in promotions on online channels.

“What was most interesting to me,” Weisberg added, “is how retailers are mimicking in-store shoppers’ behaviors for online shopping experiences and are exploring more personalization options like meal-prepping tools. In-store shopping will never go fully away, so retailers still need to pay as much attention to those experiences as online, and this survey shows that.”

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