Blog Post - Tim Reay, Nov 2 2015

​“Grocers need to invest wisely in the future of digital commerce”

​“Grocers need to invest wisely in the future of digital commerce”

By Tim Reay, Head of Grocery, Salmon

The grocery market accounts for 51.3p in every £1 of UK retail sales, making it the most common shopping experience for UK consumers. However, despite its popularity, a trip to the supermarket is usually seen as more of a necessity than a fun experience, leaving grocers looking for new ways to engage with and sell to the public.

Digital sales channels are key here and whilst the grocery market is already comfortable with ecommerce – 97% of grocers already use ecommerce, with 83% utilising Click and Collect – it is keen to move forward and make newer channels such as mobile more central to sales. This is according to Salmon’s recent report on the current and future state of digital commerce in Britain.

However, bringing digital sales channels into grocery is not that easy. 83% of grocers have experienced challenges in making mobile a more central sales channel, the main problem being lack of interest and investment from the board (23%). This may be linked to the fact that, ultimately, this sector is set-up for in-store shopping. Much of the grocery experience is about walking into a store and being guided from section-to-section, encouraged by in-store displays to make impulse purchases – something which is difficult for retailers to mirror across desktop ecommerce or mobile commerce.

Face-to-face sales still generate most sales and despite the struggle making digital a leading sales channel, grocers are already looking at new, innovative ways to grow. 58% either already invest in the Internet of Things (IoT) or plan to so in the next five years . It is findings like these which confirm that grocery retailers view the future of their industry as very much multichannel – a true combination of the ease and convenience of digital with the face-to-face interaction only stores can off­er.

Whatever technologies they decide to embrace, grocers must be sure to prioritise the services which best suit the needs of their customers.

Salmon’s report is titled ‘British Business in the Digital Age’, explores the current and future state of digital commerce in Britain across five key sectors, including retail grocery, retail non-grocery, retail luxury, manufacturing and wholesale.

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