Consumer insights: How omnichannel shoppers are responding to disruption

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By: Kelli Fulton, Collaborative Insights Manager

The combination of several recent macro-economic events has driven massive shifts in customer behavior that impact the current omnichannel landscape. COVID-19 disrupted supply chains, changed how (and what) foods shoppers consumed and caused many to change their lifestyles. As a result, a growing number of shoppers have added online shopping into their regular grocery shopping routines.

Today, inflation has become a concern for many. Recent research from 84.51° shows that the majority of customers agree that inflation levels are highly concerning, but there is no consensus on how long it will last. This uncertainty has omnichannel shoppers changing their behaviors both online and in stores as they look to stretch their budgets.

Understanding these shifts is necessary to meet shoppers where they are today. With an informed omnichannel approach backed by insights, consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands and retailers can address shoppers’ expectations and needs no matter how and where those customers choose to shop.

Who is the omnichannel retail shopper today?

Today’s omnichannel retail shoppers make their purchases both in-store and online. While there are a wide range of demographic profiles represented among these hybrid shoppers, online shoppers are more likely than in-store shoppers to be millennials and to be part of a larger household. They tend to value convenience items and are very engaged with natural and organic products.

Among these online shoppers, there are varying degrees of ecommerce loyalty. Those most loyal to ecommerce — known as Digital Champs – are more likely to be less sensitive to price, buy high-quality products and have high engagement in natural and organic products. Digital Dabblers, those shoppers with less online engagement, tend to be more price-sensitive and less likely than Digital Champs to buy high-quality or healthy products.

As disruption and uncertainty around inflation continue, constrained budgets are affecting where customers shop, what they buy and how they save. Inflationary pressures are causing shoppers to make different choices about what goes in their baskets. For example, our research found that 70% are looking for sales, deals and coupons more often, and more than half are cutting back on items — overall and on each trip — and openly switching to lower-cost brands.

These shifting behaviors put significant pressure on brand loyalty. Customers who are disproportionately driven by price are increasingly willing to skip products that are considered a “nice to have” versus a “must have” and switch to competitors that may deliver a similar benefit at a lower price. As a result, it’s more important than ever for brands to understand their shoppers and meet their expectations at every turn.

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Reasons for choosing modality

84.51° research shows convenience is the top reason why consumers choose to shop pickup or delivery for their groceries. But their number-two reason for shopping online is saving money — either overall, or by helping to reduce impulse purchases. Very price-sensitive shoppers are especially likely to quote saving money as a reason they use pickup or delivery. But these shoppers are still finding reasons to go in-store. Even those most loyal to ecommerce still complete almost 40% of their grocery trips in-store. And those who are less loyal are going in-store for their grocery trips almost 90% of the time.

Ensuring a positive shopper experience

The most loyal ecommerce shoppers spend the most at a retailer overall. So how can brands and retailers move shoppers up the loyalty ladder? The key to ensuring a positive online experience for omnichannel shoppers is to provide a seamless experience between their in-store and online shopping.

To keep shoppers in the ecommerce experience, brands must meet consumers’ online expectations. Order accuracy and availability are extremely important to them when shopping online. Omnichannel shoppers are also looking for digital coupons, quality substitutions and an easy site or app experience.

Uncover more insights about today’s omnichannel shoppers

As disruption continues to affect omnichannel shopping, brands must stay in tune with evolving consumer attitudes to meet shoppers with relevant offers and experiences, no matter how and where they shop. To better understand how omnichannel shoppers are reacting to today’s macro-economic trends and how to respond, read our new whitepaper, Winning with the omnichannel shopper in the face of disruption.

Download the white paper.

Kelli Fulton Headshot
Kelli Fulton, Collaborative Insights Manager
As Collaborative Insights Manager, Kelli Fulton collaborates across stakeholders to develop research plans that address business needs and drive action. Kelli moved into to her current position in 2021 after serving a...

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