Tap Creations surveyed 163 people to help get an understanding of how Irish Shoppers are reacting to the changes in grocery shopping through the current pandemic. We also wanted to understand how people feel the shopping experience might change in the future.
These insights help us when working with our clients to plan and create an updated shopping experience that takes into account the changing habits of the Irish grocery shopper.
The following outlines the main observations for the survey conducted between the 6th and 10th of April 2020.
WHERE DO YOU SHOP?
54% of shoppers surveyed shop in two or more stores.
Question 1 focused on understanding where people do their grocery shopping in Ireland.
Our findings show 54% of people shop in multiple stores, mostly Tesco, SuperValu or Dunnes Stores, paired with a discount store.
A focus on creating brand loyalty is important to keep sales in a single store. Retailers must communicate to their customers that they can get all they require in their store in order to reduce trips to other stores.
HOW OFTEN ARE YOU DOING A GROCERY SHOP DURING THE COVID-19 SITUATION?
83% of people are carrying out a big shop,
reducing frequency of trips to stores.
45% of people top up their big shop during the week and 4% of people are carrying out their shop less than once a week (every 10 days or 2 weeks).
The large percentage of people doing a big shop is a reflection of customers aiming to travel less and reduce contact with others. However, people are still carrying out the top-up later in the week for essentials or treats.
As we move out of lock-down, will these habits stay in place?
We predict that they will for the foreseeable future, and might pave the way for new habits and store formats to fulfill the ‘essentials top-up shop’ without shopping the whole store. Perhaps we will see a click and collect option introduced for shoppers to collect goods without entering the physical store for a prolonged period of time.
WHAT PRECAUTIONS ARE YOU TAKING WHEN SHOPPING?
90% of shoppers are protecting their hands from touch points in store.
90% of people surveyed are protecting their hands with hand sanitizer or gloves, with most using both. Others are avoiding stores by using click and collect services and shopping online. However, most of those surveyed are still visiting stores in some capacity.
Stores must provide hand sanitizing facilities in-store to reflect their care of their customers and provide a safer environment going into the future. Hygiene standards in-store post-lock-down and into the future are going to be raised and integrating the health and safety of your customers into your store format will be key to building and maintaining trust.
HAVE YOU CHANGED YOUR PURCHASING HABITS?
Habits are changing with 77% making changes to how they shop
It’s interesting to see that habits can dramatically change in a short period of time. It makes you question if shoppers would be more open to regular changes if they had an overarching benefit to peoples health and wellbeing.
Change might sit easier with customers in the future if the reason for change is clearly communicated and understood. These figures may give stores reassurance and confidence to be brave in making changes.
IN WHAT WAY HAVE YOU CHANGED YOUR HABITS?
Planning, the ‘big shop’ and speed!
One of our most prominent findings is that people are moving to a bigger shop. Another is that 20% of people are now planning and creating a list before shopping. Writing a shopping list reduces the possibility of impulsive shopping, so communicating deals and meal planning suggestions with shoppers before they enter the store will be key to engaging with them.
Another interesting observation is the change in popularity of certain foods. Due to reduced restaurant eating and take away food, more people are having to cook their own meals. This has led to increased demand for fresh ingredients – although it is preferred if this is prepacked rather than loose product. Also, frozen food came out as being important, suggesting people are planning back up meals to reduce trips to stores. There is an opportunity to engage with consumers through these products more.
HOW LIKELY ARE YOU TO KEEP THESE NEW HABITS?
While it is interesting to explore the new habits being taken on by shoppers, it also intriguing to see that there is a higher percentage of people less likely to keep these new habits than those who will. How long these habits remain in place is a guessing game at the moment, but we would predict that while there is a focus on social distancing, these habits will remain in place.
WHAT WOULD MAKE YOUR SHOPPING EXPERIENCE IN STORES BETTER IN THE CURRENT SITUATION?
Safety in store and customer engagement is key
Firstly, there is a large number of shoppers, 17%, happy with the measures taken by stores to combat COVID-19. This is very positive and shows stores are doing a good job to ensure their customers feel safe.
Also, a lot of the measures outlined have been implemented by retailers to maintain physical distancing, reduced numbers in stores, sanitation stations and social distance markings. However, the findings from this survey suggest hygeine could be increased with sanitation station points throughout the store.
There is an opportunity for retailers to connect with shoppers outside of the store to help plan their visit and inspire them with food choices. Communicating peak shopping times via store apps, wayfinding to guide shoppers seamlessly through the store and grouping essential products together could ensure consumers connect with your brand and build trust in the store.
HAVE YOU ANY OTHER VIEWS ON HOW SHOPPING IN GROCERY STORES MIGHT CHANGE AFTER COVID-19?
Whether shopping online or in a physical store, pre-planning the food shop is now a common behaviour.
29% of people suggest that either buying online or maintaining the big shop they started completing during this pandemic, will be a change to their behaviour prior to Covid-19. This suggests that retailers should target people before they visit the store to communicate deals, inspirations and their values.
Hygiene standards will be increased with 16% of people saying they are now more aware of standards, and think sanitation stations should be kept in the store. Ensuring people feel safe and keeping up the good work already put in place will be important.
Produce and bakery goods that are normally unwrapped are now being covered with single use plastic to prevent potential contamination. Unfortunately, this goes against the drive for less plastic in-store. Retailers will need to strike a balance and innovate to marry health and safety with sustainability