ARLINGTON, VA – Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and FitForCommerce, a boutique digital and omnichannel consultancy, today released the industry's first exploration in how leading grocery retailers are meeting customer demands for digital and omnichannel shopping experiences. Previewed at Groceryshop in September, the inaugural Grocery Omnichannel Index benchmarks retailer capabilities across web, mobile, and in-store channels from the eyes of their customers.

To arrive at the Index, FitForCommerce mystery-shopped 26 retailers’ online, in-store and mobile experiences across the country using more than 175 benchmarking criteria. For the more than half of food retailers that manage digital commerce and fulfillment internally and 42% that outsource the entire process to a third-party vendor, the report makes clear that convenience; data practices; personalization; content and digital tools; mobile experience; and pick up experience are critical criteria.

FMI Vice President, Industry Relations, Doug Baker recalled his days as a food retailer learning that a “mystery shopper” had been in his store. He said, “I remember how the term ‘mystery shopper’ would strike fear in our hearts because we perceived we were being judged based on one customer’s experience, but in reality, it was just another day being a retail employee and ensuring you preserved that customer’s trust, met a need and delivered on the store’s promise. This research should not be considered an invasion of privacy, and instead offer an effective way of evaluating the shopper’s digital experience in context with one’s own omnichannel strategy.”

FitForCommerce Chief Retail Officer, Kathy Kimple, commented on the rigorous evaluation process, saying, “We arrived at several conclusions that will help retailers better evaluate how the shopper perceives a grocery retailer’s online, mobile and in-store experience. We recognize that strategic omnichannel priorities look different from company to company based on budget, resources, digital maturity, and so on, but throughout this report, we outline key omnichannel capabilities that should be on every retailer’s roadmap.”

Resources and further analysis:

  • The Grocery Omnichannel Index is available to download here.
  • An infographic summarizing the Grocery Omnichannel Index is available here.
  • Join FMI and FitForCommerce for a webinar diving deeper into the topic on Nov. 13 at 2 p.m. Register here.