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Know-How the Shopping List Is Evolving in Online Grocery Shopping

Updated: Jul 22, 2021

Online Grocery Shopping
Know-How the Shopping List Is Evolving in Online Grocery Shopping

Gone are the days when people buying groceries online seemed far-fetched. After all, our grocery shopping couldn’t be complete without us picking and choosing the vegetables with our own hands and then bargaining with the vendor for a better price. But grocery shopping has evolved so much now. We are truly living in the “future”, with our urban population now choosing to buy groceries and basically everything online. Online grocery shopping will only evolve in the coming years, and the Covid-19 pandemic has only accelerated the process.

Therefore, it’s critical for the merchants to understand what the shopper wants and how they go about doing that. Most people use the digital shopping cart or the wishlist as their shopping list. They no longer make lists on a piece of paper and strike off one after the other items on the list in the store. Now let’s try to understand how this change in customer behavior will evolve with respect to online grocery shopping.

Who are these shoppers?

It would be an obvious guess to think that millennials would be the most active users of online grocery shopping apps, and while that would have been true a few years ago but not in this pandemic era. According to the 2020 U.S. Online Grocery Survey, respondents purchased an average of five grocery categories online, compared with 4.4 last year. Even Amazon saw a 0.1 percentage point uptick in the share of shoppers buying groceries online at the retailer in the past 12 months. Also, three other prominent retailers posted more than 5-percentage-point gains in the share of online grocery purchasers: Walmart (+14.9), Target (+7.2), and Costco (+6.3).

Even in India, the online grocery market size that was valued at USD 2.9 billion in 2020, is now expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 37.1% from 2021 to 2028.

With Digital India booming, we might get a chance to see more diversity in the customer base as well. With people scared of going out too many times (owing to Covid-19), there has already been a surge in the adoption of online grocery shopping apps by a new set of customers.

Cart is the new shopping list

Most grocery shoppers across generations are going to make a grocery list, maybe not on a physical piece of paper and most likely on an app widget displayed on a smartphone screen. Less than half of the online grocery shoppers are likely to make a proper list of groceries they need. It is a new e-commerce habit where many shoppers (90% across all retail categories) use online shopping carts to store items for a future purchase.

When it comes to online grocery shopping, shoppers keep using the e-cart as a substitute for the traditional shopping list and add to it immediately whenever they discover an item they want or might need in the future. This happens also when they see a crazy deal on a product. The emphasis is on convenience, so as soon as they’re ready to make the purchase, the shopper can click the checkout button rather than fuss with transferring items from a list to their cart

E-commerce wins

The online shopping behaviour may be relatively new for the grocery segment and hence, many merchants are yet to properly capitalize on it. A few brands like Amazon and Flipkart have been trying to maximize convenience and monopolizing the conversation in terms of online grocery shopping. They are doing this in a ‘clicks-and-bricks innovation war’.

Amazon is leading the way, thanks to Alexa (Amazon’s personal assistant AI) where its subscribers can simply ask Alexa to place grocery orders through voice instructions. Shoppers can now also search for items using the Google Assistant on their Android smartphones. This innovation will only evolve and become more disruptive and it’s imperative for the other smaller players to catch up with these giant companies by seamlessly integrating their services with a hyperlocal delivery application keeping them relevant.


Did you think there could be a business article about a new trend without the ‘C-word’? Of course not. Any new idea or invention should facilitate convenience in some way, and that goes without saying. Now when it comes to shopping lists evolving into e-cart lists, there are a lot of conveniences added to the entire equation.

Social media can be a powerful driver for both interest and intent. Most e-carts have a sharing functionality, where customers can instantly share a product they are interested in buying, this helps in building conversation and word of mouth as a result. This increases the overall conversion rate.

E-commerce websites use other tactics like personalized pop-up ads to keep reminding customers about the items they have in their cart. This keeps the product in the consumer’s mind and might also encourage some impulse purchases. This level of personalization helps in having a loyal customer base.

Online grocery shopping is a growing segment that brands and merchants should try to capitalize on. It’s causing shifts in behavior, as we’ve seen with the evolution of a simple shopping list, which in turn provide new opportunities to focus on consumer intent and drive it toward conversion. This conversion will only be possible if retailers can create a seamless interface and user experience on their platforms for their customers.

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