“Spearfishing” and “Full Basket”

In the early days of eCommerce, Amazon was the only game in town, with a platform that encouraged consumers to “spearfish” shop – search for a single item, add to cart, repeat.  A shopper going to Amazon.com or Walmart.com to purchase a limited number of items typically leverages the search bar to drill down to a product detail page, where they (ideally) convert to a purchase. Search Engine Optimized product content and rich A+ content pages are the name of the game here.

This spearfishing model is not an efficient model for creating and filling a full basket of weekly grocery shopping, much less purchasing a variety of temperature-sensitive categories.  However, with the advent of other eCommerce models including “click and collect” and grocery delivery to home, shoppers are increasingly purchasing full baskets of groceries, as a replacement or a supplement to their weekly shopping trip. 

There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach here – this “Full Basket” shopping experience is radically different from a “Spearfishing” trip and requires a unique playbook.

While it’s only the early innings of this eCommerce basket game, we believe that there is significant opportunity for brands to play aggressively, drive a first mover advantage, and see significantly higher share gains than their traditional instore positions.

How the Shopper Shops “Full Basket”

With a Full-Basket trip, shoppers are replicating their weekly grocery stock-up trip buying anywhere from 20 to 50 items. In fact, they are really purchasing 5 lunches for their kid’s school lunch boxes, 3 weekday dinners for the family, a Sunday brunch for relatives who are in town, and party for Saturday’s big game. This online trip is generally 3 to 5 times larger than a shopper’s typical basket purchased in-store. While search is still critically importantly, these shoppers also spend more time browsing, and purchase conversion typically happens well before shoppers reach a product detail page.

Consider this – Inside a store, the average consumer spends 90 seconds in a large category like the cereal aisle, which may contain 190 unique products. Online shoppers only see a fraction of those products on a single screen. In any given brick-and-mortar store, all consumers see the same shelf.  Online, a consumer can search, filter, and sort to customize the digital shelf to meet their individual needs.

How Companies Can Optimize for the “Full Basket” Model

Understanding a shopper’s path to purchase, and working with retailers to optimize product attribution, categorization, and improving site navigation and overall shopping experience, is critically important. Many of the tried-and-true category management principles that brands have leveraged instore to partner with retailers continue to be very relevant in this space – unlike on the spearfishing side of the equation where a retailer’s search algorithm is in fact the “category manager”.

We’ve seen large established brands drive anywhere from a 10% to 60% share advantage online, and small emerging brands have experienced up to 10X share positions online vs. instore. Likewise, some categories are able to become even more relevant online – Natural & Organic brands have a 150 index online versus stores, Kid-targeted products a 140 index, Frozen Foods a 125 index, and larger sizes a 120 index.

Companies that have the right expertise, well-integrated marketing and sales teams, the right capabilities and analytics, and aggressive early investments and leading partnerships with the top 5 sites (Walmart, Kroger, Instacart, Shipt, Amazon Fresh) are seeing advantaged early share positions, and have positioned themselves well for long-term advantage.

Inflection Points Create Opportunity

Net, anytime you have an inflection point in an established industry like grocery, it gives brands and companies opportunities to drive an advantage if they can get out early and think about it differently. While online volume may not be all incremental as consumers shift how they shop, the opportunity is to build a better share position online to drive brand volume growth.  Shopping for groceries online has given rise to new consumer behaviors, and the way food makers and retailers respond to these needs will determine their future success.

Matt Pierre led the General Mills ecommerce team for 8 years, prior to recently joining the Simpactful Team as a Senior Consultant.  In his role with General Mills, Matt was able to drive deep partnerships across all leading Full Basket players by building capabilities and digital shelf category management practices, while helping to drive digital transformation across General Mills organization.  Matt is already working with companies to grow their business in this rapidly emerging space. 

Simpactful is a CPG/Retail consultancy built for today’s challenges, with a team of experienced line leaders from both CPG and Retail companies.  We’d love to hear more about your company’s opportunities and how Simpactful can help – reach out to us at lynn.ryan@simpactful.com or matt.pierre@simpactful.com for a no-obligation discussion about your opportunities.