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Walmart’s expansion of Delivery Unlimited, its grocery delivery membership, is the latest attempt by a major retailer to make online grocery shopping more appealing. But better delivery value only addresses cost—not quality.

New research suggests concerns over quality are hindering grocery ecommerce, as many shoppers are wary of buying fresh and frozen goods online, thereby preventing full-basket shopping trips.

An August 2019 eMarketer survey conducted by Bizrate Insights found that online grocery shoppers are twice as likely to buy nonperishables as perishable items. Among shoppers who had purchased groceries online in the past month, 84% bought nonperishables (e.g., packaged snacks, dry goods, etc.) and just 45% bought perishables (e.g., fresh meat, frozen vegetables, etc.).

US Digital Grocery Shoppers Who Purchase Perishable vs. Nonperishable Grocery Items Digitally, by Demographic, Aug 2019 (% of respondents)

Among the nearly three-quarters of respondents who have never ordered groceries online for delivery, concerns about freshness and quality appear to be major impediments to adoption. The same Varcode survey found that 55% of internet users who haven’t ordered fresh or frozen groceries for home delivery cited temperature and freshness as reasons for not having done so. That number is even higher (59.4%) among 18- to 34-year-olds, who represent a key demographic currently driving growth in grocery e-commerce.

US Internet Users Whose Concern About Temperature and Freshness of Fresh and Frozen Food Items Is a Reason They Have Not Ordered Them Online for Home Delivery, Aug 2019 (% of respondents, by age)
Reference: - View the Survey Results and learn more.

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