The Kroger Co. head of e-commerce has outlined five priorities for grocery chains looking to engage customers at every touchpoint in their shopping journey in 2023.
At the NRF’s Big Show in New York City, Kroger VP/e-commerce head Bill Bennett said the company hopes to:
- Make digital coupons easier for shoppers to use.
- Speed up your digital shopping cart and checkout experience.
- Enhance the discoverability factor of your products online.
- Improve post-checkout communication with customers.
- Returns are easier than ever.
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“The biggest change we’ve seen in the grocery industry is how customers are responding to inflation that’s happening in the market. I see it,” said Bennett. “We have an amazing digital his coupon platform that has seen a huge double-digit increase in traffic to him.”
The grocery chain is examining the entire shopping journey to determine how it can be easier for inflation-sick shoppers to save at Kroger.
“So everything from making the digital coupon experience smoother to reminding customers when those coupons have been clipped,” says Bennett. “We’re thinking about how we can make the online coupon experience more like the in-store experience. Using similar color schemes, similar shapes, and lines to help customers identify where they can save money. By doing so, we help our customers really understand where they are and where they can find them.”
According to Bennett, retailers are also looking to further enhance their customers’ shopping cart experience online.
“We invest a lot in what we call ‘starting with the cart. It’s like a carousel of starter products on your home page, based on what you’ve purchased in the past to personalize. So the whole shopping trip speeds up dramatically.That if he adds 20% or 30% of his past purchases from one carousel.The goal is obviously to give the customer what they are looking for as much as possible. Get it early.”
But speed must also be balanced with discoverability, Bennett said.
“I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of walking through a store and seeing items on our list, seeing items we didn’t expect, or discovering new items in categories that interest us. Already shopped? “The search results show what the customer has purchased in the past and what they are looking for to get what they are looking for.” , has to be very carefully balanced: “Didn’t you know there was something new to come here and discover?” “
Bennett also said Kroger puts a lot of thought into fill rates, making sure customers get the products they order.
“How do you ensure that your customers are fully served with what they ordered?… The number one complaint customers have with online grocery stores is that they don’t get what they ordered, but it’s industry-wide. We have this partnership with Ocado and are leaning very heavily to build our own delivery network where groceries are picked from large centralized facilities in an automated manner. We don’t compete with our customers for our inventory.The work of promising that inventory to our customers earns significantly higher fill rates and, of course, satisfaction and repeat loyalty.”
Bennett delved into the concept of loyalty and how Kroger wants to enhance the post-checkout experience.
“When we think about the post-checkout experience, we often think about how to move customers up the loyalty ladder. You need to build a relationship with them and keep them coming back forever once or twice a week. That’s why we launched a new membership program last year called Boost, which is focused on developing a holistic relationship with our customers.”
At Kroger, over 50% of our customers participate in our Fuel Points Savings Program.
“So by tapping into our 50% customer base instead of a much smaller percentage doing grocery deliveries, we are able to offer double the fuel points per transaction,” says Bennet. says Mr. “So we launched it last summer, and so far we have seen customers grow their baskets with us, increase their frequency, increase their loyalty and move up that loyalty ladder. As you can see, it’s been a huge success.”
Bennett said Kroger has historically excelled as a promotional retailer, highlighting how much customers can save in-store.
“But online grocers were a more convenient service, so we didn’t put as much emphasis online, right? We’re hitting them on all things. There are many ways to save money at Kroger, such as coupons and fuel points and pluscard savings. We help them understand saving, so much so that we endure loyalty, tenacity, and they deal with us.”
Finally, Bennett explained the company’s new online refund service. This not only creates shopper loyalty, but is another way to prevent return abuse.
“The unique thing about groceries is that we don’t get a lot of returns from our customers. If they are, we want to take care of them and we will tell them,” he said. “Of course, it also presents opportunities for exploitation in the future. I think a lot about models, the right approach..”