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Lo-res_412-06363-SFor consumers who do their grocery shopping through electronic channels, such as those maintained by FreshDirect, the device they use may make big differences in the items they order. Accordingly, FreshDirect acknowledges its need to understand where, when, and through which channels its customers are shopping during each interaction with the company.

As a simple example, the grocery delivery service has determined that when people place orders on Saturdays or Sundays, they are usually doing so on their mobile devices. During the work week though, they largely use computers, suggesting that they are ordering from their desks, during their lunch breaks or in the midst of their work day. This difference means that the mobile site could promote more products that appeal to lazy weekend activities. But the traditional website likely needs to be quick, so that consumers can place their orders before their supervisors notice that they are on a shopping site during work hours.

The company’s chief consumer officer offers a range of scenarios in which multichannel and multi-device capabilities are critical for the retailer. In particular, she highlights questions about when and where consumers prefer to find recipes, as well as how they react to potential weather hazards, noting “Let’s say snow is coming. We don’t know exactly which day. We need to figure out when’s the last time we can market this week. Are we going to need to shut down? We know people are panicked and they want their food. So we have to figure out where they are at that moment. Do we need to give a snow message on their mobile devices? And then coordinate it with what’s on the desktop?”

As people’s time spent interacting with online and mobile content increases, trends suggest that, conversely, their interactions with each individual seller are getting shorter. Retailers have just a moment to appeal to these quick moving shoppers, and a key element of that appeal is understanding how they use their various devices in specific ways.

Discussion Question:

  1. Why is it important to understand how consumers use different electronic channel devices?

Source: David Orgel, Supermarket News, January 20, 2016