Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Timing personalised offers is key for food retailers wanting to avoid Christmas high street slump

Research from RichRelevance found 43% of food shoppers aged 25-34 prefer a tailored online experience with advice on how to create a meal from the goods placed in their basket, and this stays steady for shoppers aged from 18 up to 44 with personalised offers the top tool for helping them plan and prepare Christmas meals.

However with 50% of online Christmas food purchases being made on evenings and weekends, food retailers must think carefully about when they provide these personalised offers and suggestions to customers. This year, rather than leaping onto the discount bandwagon food retailers can be smarter by personalising offers to individual customers.

The survey revealed that 27% of 25 — 34-year olds say videos and how-to content would be most helpful as they prepare and plan their Christmas meal, while older generations seek reliability, prioritising accurate search results (23%) and easy access to their frequently purchased items (22%) over advice-led content.

“This is the most challenging Christmas season the high street has seen for many years, and large supermarkets are falling behind other retailers in tailoring the online shop to the individual,” says Michael Ni, CMO, Marketing and Ecosystem at RichRelevance.

Opportunities to increase online grocery spend exist with the 42% of shoppers who will buy a main course online, and yet not side dishes or condiments, where it dwindles to 22% and 25% respectively.

Neither is the older generation so easily swayed with offers; only 29% of 55-64-year-olds, and 26% of 65+ agreed this could persuade them to buy more of their Christmas food shop online.

In fact, when asked which tools would help then plan and prepare their Christmas meal, the top response amongst 55-64-year olds, and 65+ was ‘none of these’, showing the stark difference in how the younger generation expects to be treated by retailers, and why so many online businesses are struggling to adapt.

Michael Ni continued: “Food retailing is now about the package as much as individual items — a whole market has been carved out of ‘tailored-to-you’ meal boxes – and supermarkets have something to learn from that.”

The survey also revealed that online shoppers also demand reassurance on the freshness of their food items, with 69% of 18-24-year-olds stating this is their largest concern stopping them from doing more of their Christmas shop online, and every other age group listing it as the top pain point.

Other findings include:

● Just 11% of Londoners say they don’t plan to do any Christmas food shopping online.

● Time saving: The research revealed that 48% of shoppers over 65 choose to shop online to avoid the Christmas rush, with only 21% of 18-24-year olds putting this as their top reason. For all age groups saving time is the top factor.