Consumers have made it clear that they are willing to increase their online grocery spend. As reported in Inmar’s 2019 Shopper Behavior Study, 52 percent of shoppers purchased groceries online in 2018 and 94 percent of shoppers expect their frequency of online grocery shopping to increase this year. The challenge now becomes to decipher how to engage with shoppers in the online store, and how to ensure that your brand is top-of-mind as they search and add to cart.


As online grocery grows in adoption and complexity, it is no surprise that some brands are gaining momentum, while others are falling behind. So what can emerging and established brands do to grow share in a complex online marketplace?

Here are a few strategies to consider:

  1. Increase your presence in search algorithms

Think of your search strategies as a critical element of product and brand positioning. The first step is to ensure that consumers will find information about your product online. To improve the quality of product information across all online retailer sites, it is important to work with retailers and third party content providers like Syndigo, Label Insights and Salsify to ensure that your product data is up to date.

Once you know your product information is correct, the next step is to ensure that consumers find you when they search for your brand, generic items or even competitor brands. Engage in retailer search initiatives to ensure you can influence those efforts. Invest in new experiments and lead the conversation in bringing relevancy and personalization to the search results. And of course, participate in sponsored search results campaigns to improve your brand’s visibility.


  1. Inspire shoppers to buy quickly
    To combat online content saturation, it’s critical to be where your consumer is and guide them through the shopping process. From recipes and wellness tips to party-planning ideas, shoppers are looking for content, so make it relevant and easy to consume.


Invest in off-platform and on-platform retailer-specific media to drive conversion. Experiment with shoppable content, and seamlessly integrate offers and incentives along the journey to define a clear path to purchase. Don’t forget to capture insights along the way so you can re-engage shoppers in the future.


  1. Combat pricing pressure

Test new pricing models specific to the digital channel. Partner with retailers and define category and brand price strategies to drive sales. Consider constructs like personalized pricing, virtual pack pricing and subscription pricing to drive trial and long-term engagement. Start testing with smaller retailers to minimize risk, and learn from the experiments before expanding your efforts.


  1. Get your brand in the favorites and past purchases lists

Online shoppers are driven by convenience, and being able to shop from previous orders or add items to the cart from a list of favorites allows time-strapped consumers to complete an order with just a few clicks. The question is how to get on those lists in the first place. Explore digital sampling, category subscriptions and other trial tactics to incentivize consumers to add your product to their favorites. Prompt them with new offers and establish your position in the shopper's digital list to improve your chances of re-purchase in future orders.


As with any other marketing strategy, it is imperative that you start with your consumer in mind. The key expectations of online shoppers revolve around convenience, value and need for inspiration, so craft your strategies around those simple elements to attract new consumers and deepen the engagement with those that already buy your brand. 


Diana Medina is director of ecommerce solutions for Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based Inmar Analytics.