By: Kelli Windsor, Director of Digital Communications, Food Marketing Institute
On paper, I’m the definition of an online grocery shopper: I’m a millennial mom with a four-month-old daughter; I live in an urban area; and juggle the responsibilities that go with being a working mom. According to FMI’s U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2018 report, 58 percent of millennials with kids occasionally or fairly often shop for groceries online. So, why don’t I fit this trend? I’ll tell you my reasons and perhaps this will give you some insight into why the percentage isn’t higher and what it would take for me to wade into the online grocery shopping pool.
Reason #1: Fear
Each day my husband and I are re-defining our routine. No two days look the same as we navigate our roles as new parents, which means I’m looking for services I can depend on. I’ve considered trying meal kits, ordering groceries online and even participating in a meal subscription service. But for every success story I hear, I’m shocked by another story of disappointment. That makes me fearful that if I invest in online grocery shopping I could wind up wasting my time, money or sanity. At this point in my life, I’m not willing to gamble.
Reason #2: Habit and Convenience
I’ve been shopping at grocery stores all my life. It’s second nature to go to the store, or stores, each week. For my family, it’s also still more convenient to visit the store since we have at least six options for groceries within a five-mile radius of our house. Because we’re typically after more than one item, having all these options means we can conveniently pick up not just the immediate needs, but also restock the pantry. True, ordering groceries online might be convenient, but I’m not trained to immediately go to my smartphone when I’m out of ketchup – plus it seems a bit silly to wait on delivery when I have so many great grocery stores I can easily pop into.
Reason #3: I Have a Good Co-Shopping Partner
My husband loves to cook and is great at sharing the household chore of grocery shopping. In fact, it’s easier to get him to go the grocery store than convince him to fold laundry. We’re each different in our approach to grocery shopping—I follow the list and he likes to start with the list and then explore. Our unique styles complement each other and result in us trying new dishes, while fine-tuning the classics. Since we’re cooking nearly every night of the week these days, it’s good to have the variety. If we shopped online I don’t think we would experiment as much and I can see how the task of grocery shopping would stop being a co-experience and start being solely my responsibility.Clearly, my reasons for being slow to adopt online grocery shopping are mine alone, and for every one of my reasons, there is a clear counterpoint. I can see the potential for online grocery shopping to be my family’s future, but we are not there yet. We’ll continue to dip our toe in the online grocery shopping tide pool and wait for the right moment to dive in.
Download U.S. Grocer Shopper Trends 2018
P.S. Reason #4: Leftovers
Over a delicious meal of grilled mahi-mahi with mango salsa, plantains and asparagus, my husband and I got to talking about this blog post. He made a good point I felt I had to include. He reminded me that these days we’re often cooking for more than one meal. In fact, if I can’t get leftovers out of a meal, I’m not interested in making it. Leftovers give us the flexibility to still have a delicious, home-cooked meal even if our day and plans have fallen to pieces. With meal kits and online ordering, you can’t always plan to have enough for leftovers on hand. But if you’re in the store and you’re inspired to make something great, you can easily pick up extra so there will be leftovers for a rainy day. Just another reason we’re still slow to adopt online grocery shopping.
P.P.S. My husband did the cooking. I did the dishes.