Digital Grocery Insights: Coupons Are Still King
Chances are you make at least one trip per week to the grocery store.
Your shopping habit isn’t unique, and retailers know it: food brands and grocery stores alike are issuing coupons for necessities like food, beverages, and household items. And in the cutthroat environment of retail, companies don’t want to invest money into programs that don’t work.
To determine how consumers move across the path to purchase, and the significance of coupons along the way, Luth Research collected data from 304 participants open to buying groceries online within a 6-month period. Using our ZQ Intelligence™ software, we were able to passively monitor participants’ computer and smartphone device usage. Read on to discover insights into digital grocery shopping behavior.
Store Loyalty vs. Brand Loyalty
Effective coupon use often means comparing prices at different stores. Amazon is shown as the top site where shoppers compare prices and products right before they actually go get their groceries. Ninety-two percent of consumers visit Amazon product pages before heading to the supermarket, while 89% search for items on Amazon before going shopping.
Store loyalty, in general, isn’t as strong as brand loyalty, which we saw influenced coupon use. Ninety-five percent of people who visit shopping sites and apps went on to check coupon sites. This suggests that customers find their favorite brands and then look for a way to buy them for less.
But, coupons are also an important factor in persuading a shopper to try a new brand. Coupon sites and apps are a key step on the grocery purchasing path, as they funnel consumers to the online stores. A coupon can motivate a shopper to buy a particular product. In fact, within an hour of checking coupon apps and sites, consumers usually embarked upon a shopping excursion.
The shift from trekking through a physical store to ordering groceries online often results from packed schedules. Parents are rushing from work to home to their children’s extracurricular activities. They need to maximize every spare minute in order to prepare a nutritious dinner using ingredients that won’t break the family budget. Not surprisingly, Luth discovered that the strongest use of coupons (nearly two-thirds of respondents) came from parents with children under 18 years of age.
Prior to purchasing groceries, 63% of shoppers visit social media first, then recipe sites, then coupon sites. Visiting social media and recipe sites was highest between 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Combined with the low visitation rates to shopping sites, this suggests consumers are likely preparing for their big weekend shop with some online meal inspiration.
Social media, therefore, has a tremendous impact on diet. Sites like Pinterest and Instagram would likely serve as prime venues to post coupons, especially at peak research times. Similarly, shoppers who use recipe sites can be influenced to purchase ingredients they might not otherwise consider in order to make a particular dish. This could be further driven by offering coupons for the ingredients on the same social media platform that the recipe is found.
Reading Between the Lines
With 57% of online grocery shoppers seeking coupons, our research confirms that coupons are still king. But for coupons to continue reign supreme, they need to be introduced online at the right time and place. It’s during the decision-making process of what items and brands to buy that coupons make all the difference. Once shoppers are making their purchases, it’s usually too late. The new target should come towards the end of the week on social media or recipe pages. Failing that, coupon sites are an effective favorite.