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10 ways grocers can create an effective e-comm solution

It starts by putting the customer at the centre of every digital experience
Mercatus CEO Sylvain Perrier at Thought Leadership

Sylvain Perrier, president and chief executive officer at Mercatus Technologies, began his presentation at Canadian Grocer's Thought Leadership CEO Conference last month, with what he called a "harsh reality"--everyone has access to e-grocery.

"Gone are the days when only a very small sliver of the social demographic and social economic strata would want to use such a technology," Perrier told the sold-out crowd. And, grocers are not only competing with one another for share of wallet, they're also up against food delivery services such as SkipTheDishes, UberEats, DoorDash and Foodora.

The battle for e-commerce dominance in the Canadian grocery industry is heating up and food retailers should be prepared. To start, it's important to understand what Canadians want from an e-grocery experience.

What they're looking for is a personalized and friendly user experience both online and via mobile, the ability to save time, a robust product search experience, and the ability to select a specific date and time for delivery, according to a 2018 survey compiled by Mercatus coupled with recent research from Canada Post.

Canadians also want the online experience to be faster and more seamless than the in-store shopping experience, said Perrier. If it's not, consumers have indicated they'll switch retailers, he said.

Perrier offered ideas on how Canadian grocers can create profitable e-grocery solutions that meet customers needs, "specifically when those customers are in charge," he said. "Make no mistake, Web 2.0 did something revolutionary, it put  in charge."

  1. Put the customer at the centre of every digital experience.

  2. It’s a mobile-first world. At least 75% of transactions online come from mobile first, said Perrier. You need to design your mobile experience first, think about screen sizes and where people are going to use the applications.

  3. Become fanatical not just about product data, but user data as well. And don't be afraid to create light governance around how you'll use that data.

  4. Incentivize your customers to try e-commerce.

  5. Give your shoppers choice--whether it's click and collect or home delivery--and be transparent about when you make a mistake or product substitutions.

  6. Think fulfillment and leverage the right solutions to deliver an exceptional shopping experience.

  7. Train your employees, rinse and repeat. Take them along on the journey and give them the tools it takes to do the job correctly.

  8. Plan your support paths. For example, if a shopper is stuck waiting for an order in their car you don't want them calling a hotline for assistance. You need a contingency plan in place.

  9. Measure, measure, measure.

  10. Don't go it alone. Leverage your partners.

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