Looking back a few months ago, I can remember how my grocery shopping trip consisted of multiple store visits and abundantly stocked shelves accompanied by a sassy child begging for – well, everything. Now, social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders have changed the way I and millions of others do our grocery store shopping. Even though grocery shopping behavior has changed across the U.S., the effectiveness of grocery store advertising has remained constant. Receipt tape and shopping cart ads date back 30 plus years, and are demonstrating their resilience and longevity in these uncharted waters.
So, how has grocery shopping behavior changed?
Fewer Trips to the Store
There’s no denying that there’s been an increase in online grocery shopping over these past few months with more people opting for home delivery or curbside pick-up. However, 84% of online shoppers reported that they encountered an issue. Frustrations are high with out-of-stock items, delivery delays, and mistakes in orders. These experiences have already resulted in some people returning to in-store shopping.
For the people who insist on picking their produce from inside the store, their grocery shopping behavior has changed as well. 78% have made a change in where they shop as a result of COVID-19. People are shopping at fewer stores, different types of stores, or have changed where they shop most frequently. Folks are looking for one-stop shopping for their grocery needs to limit exposure to the Coronavirus. For many, this means shopping at their neighborhood grocery store.
For advertisers, this means you’re more likely to reach the people that live within a small geographic radius of your business. i.e., your ideal customers.
More Planning, Less Browsing
Gone are the days of wandering the grocery aisles browsing for items. People are putting a lot more effort into planning their shopping trips. I’ve always been a stickler for grocery lists. Now, more shoppers are seeing the benefits of list-making as they try to shorten their time spent in the store, focus on buying food staples and staying stocked up on essential supplies.
Meal planning has also become a big thing. It not only increases the number of items needed but as a result, 55% of people report spending more money per grocery store visit.
Heftier shopping lists lead to more time pushing the shopping cart around (while staring at the billboard-style ad) and more purchased items. i.e., a longer receipt housing ads for local businesses.
Going on a Solo Mission
One recent visit to the grocery store with my 5-year old brought me to the conclusion that it’s something I don’t want to do again until the threat of COVID-19 is over. Bribing her to wear a mask and continuously telling her not to smell things or play hopscotch with the social distancing floor stickers only made my shopping trip more challenging.
Apparently, I’m not alone in my decision to leave certain family members at home. 36% of shoppers have made changes in who does the grocery shopping. What was once a nice outing for families or couples has now become a one-person operation.
What hasn’t changed is that the primary household shopper, albeit solo, will visit the grocery store an average of 1.7 times per week and the secondary shopper will visit 1.3 times a week.
This is great news for businesses who want to advertise at the grocery store. It shows that the household decision-maker can continuously be reached via grocery store advertising. In addition, not even the pandemic has stopped shoppers from returning to the store multiple times a week. Shoppers are exposed to grocery store ads an average of 1.5 times a week. That’s more repetition than what you’d get with direct mail before the pandemic!
Grocery Store Advertising Is Thriving
Even with the changes in grocery shopping behavior, grocery stores are seeing a wild increase in the number of daily shoppers. There is no doubt that grocery store advertising continues to be an effective way to reach local consumers.