The top-up convenience market is a big opportunity for digital-savvy retailers, Harry Walker, who heads up Google’s UK grocery team says in a white paper published this month.

As the growth of top-up shopping trips accounts for a greater share of grocery spend, Google’s research shows that shoppers are becoming less loyal to retail brands like Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

“These trips are disruptable – consumers are more flexible with store choice than they are on a main shop,” says Walker.

Areas for improvement

The areas where shoppers want stores to improve are focused on availability and price. They are less tolerant of having to find a substitute product when on a top-up mission than they are on their main grocery shop.

So retailers who can “minimise disappointment”, enable “the power to plan” and define “local on my terms” through their digital marketing will win their business, Google argues.

Local retail owners may find the last point of particular interest. It is explained well in a diagram attached to Walker’s white paper that shows where people are when they search for a grocery store near Waterloo station.

Ready-made marketing tools

Google has a product for marketers to use to address each of the three key convenience shopper touchpoints. These concerns will likely be promoted to consumers as part of Google’s development of its convenience channel business.

This is why the white paper is an important read for convenience market participants.

Today, Google’s purpose may be to persuade the big grocery brands to spend more money advertising on its search platform.

A growing audience

But the bigger the audience it can deliver to the supermarkets the bigger also the opportunity for digital disruptors like Amazon, meal-kit businesses, and home delivery services.

“Consumers’ expectations of what digital should do for them in their grocery shopping experience is, thus far, ahead of the reality, and this is leaving them frustrated and disappointed,” says Walker.

Every retailer is now disrupted.

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