What Can Grocery Stores Teach Us About E-Commerce?

You may not have considered it before, but grocery stores have gotten many of the concepts that designers regularly struggle with down to a science. Getting many people in the door and converting them into buyers is a specialty of these massive chains, and here are a few lessons that you can take away from the work they’ve done to improve their own success over the years.

  • Genuine content. In grocery stores, we’ve all become familiar with brand less products that stand out as being the “generic” choice, or the grocery stores own version of a popular product. These are often lower in their cost, and their quality. Part of the rebranding that these chains have taken with their own brands is to look at new ways to promote products with on package labeling, images, and more, without necessarily copying the look of their competitors.

The lesson to take away is that consumers respond well to genuine content and creativity, more so than they do when you imitate the look of other sites. Your genuine content relates to the copy that’s actually on product pages, but it can also go hand in hand with your image choices and how you sell the product, down to the very microcopy.

What Can Grocery Stores Teach Us About E-Commerce?
  • Easy navigation. If your site doesn’t have a focus on the ease of navigation for your visitors, you could be missing out on sales. Consider how grocery stores are laid out, and you can get a simple understanding of why this matters. In grocery store psychology terms, they call it “the prison,” and while the name may sound grim, it actually refers to the flow of a consumer’s traffic once they enter the store, and then an aisle. The flow of grocery store traffic usually includes a trip through the produce and fresh food departments, to indicate quality and care with food.
What Can Grocery Stores Teach Us About E-Commerce?

In website creation, your flow should show off the best qualities of a e-commerce site so that users know they’re in for something great, but you don’t want to slow them down on their way through the site.

  • Convenient check out. One of the trends you may have noticed within the past decade has been the rise in “self-checkout” lanes at the grocery store. The idea behind these is that they make it easier for customers to get in, and get out, which means they’re likely to enter the store in the first place. If you’ve been in a 20-deep line of customers with hundreds of dollars of groceries, you already know the appeal of this. You don’t want to make it harder for customers to buy the thing they came for.

With websites, check out is also very important. Choice of the right cart application is huge, as is the microcopy. Special care should be taken with security and assurances if credit card or PayPal information is being taken as well.

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