Kellogg urges retailers to cater to ‘brick & order’ shoppers

Jul 24, 2018

Pat Lenius

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the monthly e-zine, CPGmatters.

“It’s still a very brick world, but it’s becoming an order world,” said Craig Geiger, senior manager, Insights & Planning for the Kellogg Company, in a presentation in Chicago at the Shopper Insights & Retail Activation conference.

Those in the audience were urged to move quickly to attract “brick & order” customers, referring to those ordering online or by phone for store pick-up.

A few years ago, 83 percent of grocery purchasing was done at brick-and-mortar. Today, one in four households buy some groceries online, he said. Stock-up trips are increasingly the reason consumers are purchasing groceries online and those picking up orders often pick up additional items.

Brick & order shoppers find online shopping appealing because of the greater access to product information and the stress-free experience. But online grocery purchases are driven by insights and emotions, and Mr. Geiger feels the industry needs to “inspire and incite with insight to create some change.”

His advice included:

  • Developing an enhanced online presence;
  • Employing a knowledgeable, creative copywriter for online marketing;
  • Providing more information. It’s not enough to say the obvious, like potato chips are crunchy.
  • Providing recipes and serving ideas;
  • Engaging the customer with more detailed and inspirational content.

Who writes the online copy for grocery ads that are targeting the online shopper? Does the copy provide enough information? The customer will want to know how heavy the box or package is, said Mr. Geiger. He suggests including a picture that shows a person holding the box or another that shows how it looks in the freezer or cupboard.

Mr. Geiger also noted that, when Meijer promotes Eggo waffles, it includes ideas and recipes that suggest it is fun to eat the product.

Manufacturers, advises Mr. Geiger, should order groceries online from their retailers to assess their performance. Retailers should reinforce the idea of shopping in the store to online customers while they wait to pick up their order. Offering incentives such as free shipping may encourage other customers to try online grocery shopping.

“The loyalty window is now open, but it will close rapidly,” he said.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What suggestions would you have for grocers to improve their online sites to support brick & order? Which grocers stand out for their online practices? What do you think of the suggestions offered in the article?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
"The opportunity for retailers is to think holistically about simplifying their customers’ lives. "
"For now, don’t worry about the logistics—worry about capturing the micro-sale because failure to capture that will render the logistics question moot."
"Another thing to note is that online is also on mobile. Lots of content is fine until you try to read it on a phone."

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19 Comments on "Kellogg urges retailers to cater to ‘brick & order’ shoppers"

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Keith Anderson

The article has several good ideas. I’d add:

  • Making it easy to get started by offering trial incentives and making it easy to build a first order using loyalty data;
  • More effective coordination of in-store and online programs and activations;
  • Focusing on adding rich product detail and content to help shoppers make better decisions faster.
Bob Phibbs

I’m not so sure online grocery will be able to capture much of the impulsive nature of shopping in a grocery store no matter how you say potato chips are crunchy like your footsteps across a frozen snowfield. I did like the idea of brick and order — very catchy and quickly captures the idea much better for the consumer than BOPIS.

Bob Amster

So now we have BOPIS, “click and collect” and “brick and order.” We have enough sound bites and acronyms to confuse many if not most …

Jon Polin

Thinking about a bifurcated offline-online world is a roadmap to poor customer experience. The opportunity for retailers is to think holistically about simplifying their customers’ lives. Why not let customers simultaneously order their packaged groceries and their fresh, prepared dinner — all in one order? Why not enable customers to simultaneously order their packaged groceries and a smart, complementary selection of “endless aisle” products that get fulfilled from a logistics facility? Retailers need to broaden their thinking about the role they can play in simplifying and improving customers’ lives.

Jeff Sward

As I always say, Explore + Experiment = Experience. This sounds perfect. I know that I tend to get stuck in ruts when it comes to cooking and eating at home. It’s all very healthy, but even I can take only so much Greek yogurt and spinach smoothies. Please give me easy and obvious healthy choices — variations on the theme. Multiple different dishes to make with the same ingredients. Just like apparel. Mix and match. Different combos, different spices and side dishes (accessories). Same/same.

Sunny Kumar

Brick and order has been around as click and collect in the U.K. for a number of years now and there have been a number of enhancements to this by brands to make the service better. Some that stand out are dedicated click and collect areas in a store’s parking lot, allowing customers to drive in, collect and go without going into the store. Retailers joining up with their partner stores and thus providing a greater choice of pick up locations. And now stores providing a “pick up within the hour” service.

All of these are a great addition to the basic brick and order service, the reason they work is because they enhance the basic customer needs, convenience, speed and choice.

Seth Nagle

Forget about trying to make money, right now it’s all about the user experience, transparent pricing and quality of products received. Shoppers don’t want to spend more time trying to figure out how to use an app, having issues finding their parking spot/waiting to get service or getting smashed or broken eggs.

H-E-B and Kroger seem to be doing this very well and they know not every shopper is going to use their click and collect models however it’s a service their shoppers want to know is available to them.

Art Suriano
The article makes sense and not just for grocers. The more we drive customers away from stores by pushing everything online, the less traffic there will be and, more importantly, the less impulse buying there will be. That affects overall business. Online has many conveniences, and there is no denying it, but in-store shopping, given an adequate experience, becomes enjoyable for the customer and profitable for the retailer when the customer responds to impulse items and add-ons. The article makes excellent points when suggesting to find ways that will get the customer in the store to pick up and shop. That is the best of both worlds, allowing the customer the convenience of buying online and then visiting a store to see what else there is that the customer may want. Retailers that can perfect this strategy will have the most significant success. Stores are not going away but if you don’t generate enough traffic and sales in your stores, your company will go away. So retailers need to pay attention to the comments Pat… Read more »
Susan O'Neal
3 years 11 months ago
A lot of good insight in here, and I agree with all of it. I’ll just add one enhancement to an existing thought and one unique additional thought. The enhancement is: Think less about utility and more about fun. With respect to “developing an enhanced online presence”, I urge retailers not to over-think the utility aspect of online engagement and experiment with what we at Dabbl call “digital downtime.” This is the three to five hours a day the average smartphone user spends goofing around on their phone — looking for mild distraction, entertainment or a sense of feeling productive or smart. Additional new thought: Compete for the micro-moment and the micro-purchase. In the digital environment we are ALL are competing for micro-moments and micro-decisions — with everyone and everything, all the time. Amazon’s super power is being there during that micro-moment of item demand, which is always one item, and closing that sale right away. If you compete in the digital world for a list of times (aka “a trip” or “an entire order”),… Read more »
David Weinand

The best ideas will come from the shoppers themselves — meaning that grocers can add a broad variety of experience-based offerings (recipes, trials, detailed content) and with online tracking the data will show what is working and what isn’t.

Brandon Rael

Brick and order will connect with consumers as compared to BOPIS, or omnichannel which requires quite a bit of explanation. For grocers to truly to be successful in the online sector, the e-commerce and mobile platforms should be a consistent brand extension, and experience beyond the traditional brick-and-mortar locations.

This will require grocers to blend both online and offline experiences, via all the invaluable customer insights they receive across the platforms. Personalization will be critical, particularly in the form of cross promotions and loyalty integration, as well as empowering the online platforms to provide incentives to come to the physical location, where true impulse shopping occurs.

We should expect to see a hybrid customer, who perhaps on occasion will exclusively shop online for groceries, with the option of going to the local grocery store to experience, and connect with, the local offerings.

Joan Treistman

I’d like to know where brick and order is most prevalent. I live in New York City and wonder if my neighbors who don’t have cars are using brick and order the way my friends in suburbia order and pick up.

When I go online to consider ordering household cleaners I’m shown the same brand across multiple retailers. Some don’t charge shipping some do. I’m instantly able to compare value and convenience and make my decision accordingly.

While the article lists down-to-earth and practical suggestions for grocers, it still leaves me wondering about how location, location, location (of the shopper) should impact grocers’ brick and order strategies.

Gene Detroyer

If retailers don’t get used to the idea that shoppers want time-saving and convenient experiences they will be left behind. Each time technology offers a step to more convenience for the shopper, the shopper has taken it.

While I am not suggesting that retailers look to online and ignore their stores, they should not fight it. Any effort to move people away from online connection with the idea that one wants to increase in-store traffic is a fool’s errand. I could easily imagine in 25 or 30 years a day when there are no longer traditional supermarkets and most grocery shopping is order online and pick up or delivery.

Kenneth Leung

Another thing to note is that online is also on mobile. Lots of content is fine until you try to read it on a phone. Make sure the copy is compelling before the “read more” button is pressed and the “add to basket” button is always accessible from every screen easily. Some retailers’ mobile shopping experience is very difficult.

Georganne Bender

I like the term “brick and order” but it still may not get customers past curbside pick-up, or past the in-store pick up counter and onto the sales floor where all the impulse purchases lie. I wonder how susceptible online shoppers will be to ad copy designed to encourage add-on sales. As a consumer, I wouldn’t say that add-on or impulse purchases are even something I think about when ordering online.

Denis Kelly
3 years 11 months ago
This is a new expertise for most grocers since the majority of their efforts are to enhance the brick experience. If they are to simply say “come and get it at the store” that isn’t much of an offer. The convenience of “brick and order” speaks for itself but translating this idea is quite complex and can confuse merchants trying hard enough to keep up on pricing, competition and a great in-store experience. Needless to say, the online experience needs to be seamless, interesting and super convenient to entice customers to engage and adapt to what is a pretty personal experience like pondering “what’s for dinner?” or picking out fresh fruit. A different take here but I love Fresh Direct’s approach — granted it’s not a “brick and order” process. Finally, I’m not really sure that one of the suggestions offered (the picture of a person holding a box) is cutting-edge online merchandising but it is very important to understand the unique differences when it comes to the experience of buying something that will go… Read more »
Dave Nixon

Brands like Kellogg’s need to help grocers with the “loss of discovery” that happens from a digital experience and the BOPIS model by more than simply marketing. Without the physical aspects of shopping (visual, taste, smells, sounds, etc.) we miss some additional revenue opportunities that the store can bring. They can assist with the sense of discovery by offering special offerings for click and collect shoppers for things like special recipes, ingredient “mashups” that their products could be used for, and overall curated content available to those digital shoppers. Then extend the experience from the digital to the physical when that particular shopper arrives (this will take a physical store “rethink” at the point of pickup) and has access to even more curated content specific to them.

David Naumann
David Naumann
Marketing Strategy Lead - Retail, Travel & Distribution, Verizon
3 years 11 months ago

“Click and collect” or “brick and order” is all about convenience. I agree with most of the suggestions in the article except for the one about more information. I think most people that are interested in ordering online and picking up in the store are focused on saving time and they don’t have time to read more about basic products they buy every week. Online ordering is most conducive to recording staple items that are on your weekly shopping list. Therefore, the most important online tool is the shopping list and reminders to place your next order based on previous purchases and predicted replenishment cycles. Eventually, smart refrigerators will be integrated with these systems for real-time recommendations.

Susan Viamari

Content is a huge opportunity for grocers to differentiate online and brick & order offerings. E-commerce is certainly less tactile than brick and mortar, but far more expansive in terms of content offerings.

Online, retailers and marketers have more than package labels and store signage to introduce new occasions for product usage (new recipes) and benefit-centric marketing messages (very important to today’s educated consumers). Of course, data and technology should be used to integrate offline and online data to personalize brick & order experiences. Retailers can also use this data to drive spontaneity and impulse purchases throughout the selection and checkout process.

Whether your goal is to create a memorable experience or a simplified one, retailers should ultimately use every tool in their box to make e-commerce and brick & order experiences seamless and more convenient options.

"The opportunity for retailers is to think holistically about simplifying their customers’ lives. "
"For now, don’t worry about the logistics—worry about capturing the micro-sale because failure to capture that will render the logistics question moot."
"Another thing to note is that online is also on mobile. Lots of content is fine until you try to read it on a phone."

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