If your excuse for not cooking is that “ordering delivery is easier,” you’ll have to find a new rationale.
Online grocery shopping is a surging trend, and customers have already shown an affinity for the virtual supermarket. About 25% of American households buy at least some groceries online, up 6% from 2014.
On the retail side, businesses beyond strictly grocers are taking advantage of this new revenue stream. From FreshDirect and Jet to Amazon and Instacart, the online grocery space has become fiercely competitive. Boutique services like Thrive Market that target specific user bases have popped up and are, well, thriving. Businesses are also banding together to dominate the space. Walmart has paired with Uber to expand its grocery delivery service. Whether a shopper is looking for same-day or scheduled delivery, everything they need to meal prep or host a party is a few clicks away.
As with any new vertical, new growing pains will pop up and dissuade some customers from continuing to use a service. The traditional Silicon Valley saying is that if a technology doesn’t make doing a task 10 times easier, it’s not worth doing from a consumer behavior standpoint. We pulled a few of our top UXperts into a room to brainstorm the online grocery delivery industry. We pinpointed a few pain points and some potential solutions to them.
Close the communication loop
Speaking to a customer service rep on the phone can be helpful in some situations (AI isn’t the end all, you know), but for a service that’s done entirely through a digital experience, calling just won’t cut it. I learned this at Seamless when we acquired new customers. If there was an issue with an order in the first experience and we asked customers to call, it was almost a guarantee churn. Allowing customers to text with the customer service team is a major customer experience improvement, and a no-brainer. Customers who use digital ordering are technologically savvy, and phone calls (invented in the 1800s) aren’t exactly a an advance forward in technology.
“For a digital company that facilitates transactions on digital devices, the customer service options are incredibly non-digital.”
Offer reply-enabled notifications
Getting a notification that your order is being processed is just one step in the delivery journey. FoodKick is incredible at alerting customers within seconds the order has been received. However, the moment a customer replies back to the number, the bad experience begins. “We’re sorry, you can’t text this number.” It’s infuriating because with a service like Teckst, that customer would be smiling instead of rage-dialing. By offering reply-enabled notifications, a customer can easily resolve queries like rescheduling their delivery or making a change to their order.
Fix the overall shopping experience
There are many online grocery stores to choose from, and all of them offer a seemingly endless variety of items. From non-perishables to produce, a customer could end up spending quite a bit of time scouring a site for a few basic essentials. While retailers might think the customer will keep hitting “add to cart” every time they see something appealing, this could actually result in a shopper leaving the page out of an overabundance of options. Sheens Iyengar lead a TED Talk about this very issue. Too many options makes for a messy experience.
One possible solution is to utilize a digital concierge, much like grocery store staff, to help customers find what they’re looking for. For example, in store a customer can ask, “Where can I find bread?” but on a site, it’s much harder, despite having a search bar at the top of the page. The binary search bar can’t help determine fresh versus pre-packaged or frozen, whereas a chatbot could help guide the customer to the very item and, to make it easier, drop it in their cart.
As analog experiences like grocery shopping become more common, the communication tools they use need to also need to become digital. Services like Teckst can help create incredible mobile experiences that fuse perfectly with customer’s perceptions of an online grocery service. The improvement in digital communication tools will ultimately lead to an increase in acquisition and a decrease is customer service issues–it’s a win-win.