Customers Perceptions on Grocery Shopping

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Customers' Perceptions on Grocery Shopping

Perceptions on Conventional Supermarket Shopping

This study first examined what factors are important in affecting customers' preference to a particular supermarket. The results are presented in Table 3.

Table 3: Factors Affecting Consumers' Shopping Preference



Percent (%) N=160













Service Provided



Choice & Range of Products



The data indicates that price is the most important factor in determining what stores customers to go. This is followed by products/services' quality and convenience. This confirms Jeff Bezos's (founder of Amazon) remarks that "a retailer needs to be excellent in all the areas that customers are interested in—like prices, selection, ease of use (convenience) and services, if it is to be successful" (Financial Times, 2000).

Reasons in Favour of Conventional Shopping

About 40 percent of the responses are in favour of conventional shopping. Twenty percent described that they enjoy going supermarkets because they want to find bargains: product price seems sensitive for grocery shopping. Fifteen percent indicate that they like to choose food through the variety and new products that are available. De Kare-Silver (2000), based on Kalchas's research, suggests that products which traditionally need to be touched, tasted or smelled are prima facie less likely to sell well online. However, products and services without those characteristics will have electronic appeal. This is in line with Ring & Tigert's (2001) argument that, for many shoppers, seeing, touching, and smelling are important in shopping for fresh foods. Ten percent of the responses are related to social aspect of shopping, i.e., shopping with family members, meeting friends, etc.

Reasons for Disliking Conventional Shopping

Sixty-six percent (107 persons) of the sample responded that they did not enjoy shopping in supermarkets. As shown in Table 4, most of the respondents believe supermarket shopping is rather time consuming and tiring: a necessity that can be described as a chore. Some respondents made comments that support Doyle's (1998) argument that conventional shopping is often a chore: frustrating and unenjoyable.

Table 4: Reasons to Dislike Shopping in Supermarkets



Percentage (%) N = 160

Time Consuming









Too Many People



Shopping Alone






Perceptions on Online Supermarket Shopping

Jarvenpaa & Todd (1997) report that there is a mixed view about Internet shopping, i.e., the same people who are positive about Internet shopping were also negative. They suggest that individuals hold mixed views of shopping on the Internet and tested that their views are not necessarily related to general demographic characteristics. Our study reveals that there is no one single overwhelming reason for or against Internet shopping for groceries. Respondents perceived the potential benefits of Internet shopping, but also express concerns of stepping toward Internet shopping.

Reasons against Internet Shopping

The survey shows that 16 percent of the respondents (26 persons) have bought products or services from the Internet, among those, only 7.5 percent (12 persons) have shopped from a supermarket Internet site, although 39 percent (62 persons) have visited supermarket Internet sites. It appears that current usage of the Internet for grocery shopping is among a small group of users. This is in line with Tanskanen et al.'s (2002) argument that, in Europe, there have been very few e-groceries, and none of them has seriously challenged conventional supermarket chains. Brick and mortar retailer chains have dominated the development of electronic grocery shopping in Europe. Even in the U.S., online grocery shopping is still in its infancy, with only 10 per cent of online shoppers reporting that they purchased grocery items online (Food Marketing Institute, 2000; quoted by Morganosky & Cude, 2002)

According to the 12 (7.5 percent) respondents who made purchases from a supermarket Internet site, Tesco is the most preferred Internet site for grocery shopping. Because of this very small sample size, it is impossible to establish whether the Tesco Internet shopping model is perceived as better than other models. As revealed early in this study, consumers mainly look for quality products with cheap prices from traditional supermarkets, but seek convenience, time-savings and a better deal from Internet shopping (will be discussed later). It can be speculated that consumers are not interested in the difference between the "in-store picking up" model and the "picking up centre" model. In other words, their shopping behaviour and attitude may not directly relate to the supermarkets' Internet shopping model, but relate to what benefits resulted from that particular model. The reasons against Internet shopping are outlined in Table 5.

Table 5: Reasons against Internet Shopping



Percent (%) N = 160

Security concern



Cannot Judge Quality



Delivery Charges



Lack of Social Contact



Better Prices On Stores



No Interest



Lack of Knowledge



Internet Charges



Security concern is the most important reason given by respondents for not buying grocery online. This supports Dennis et al.'s (2002) assertion that U.K. shoppers are concerned about security and payment aspects of buying online. Despite the fact that investment and trials in technological infrastructure are moving fast, and security is one area where advances are being made (De Kare-Silver, 2000), consumers appear to lack confidence in Internet security. As widely expected, they are particularly concerned with privacy (personal information), secured transactions and payment processing on the Internet, and repudiation, i.e., denial of order or payment being made or received.

Not being able to display a variety of products is another disadvantage expressed by respondents. Although most of the supermarket sites include a huge variety of products available for Internet shopping, it seems that the feeling that the consumers have in a supermarket store surrounded by thousands of packages and products is not the same with the one that they have in front of their computer desktop. Fore example, consumers can make impulse purchases by walking the aisles, and select items that were not on the pre-planned shopping list (Ring & Tigert, 2001). This survey reveals that 17.5 percent of the respondents indicate that product quality cannot be judged on the Internet. This is particularly true when using Internet for grocery shopping. Jarvenpaa & Todd (1997) examined consumers' perception on products on the Internet, and reported that product variety is viewed positively for the Web as a whole but not for individual merchants because of a lack of product depth. However, the responses generated in our study do not support Komenar's (1997) argument that with grocery shopping many transactions are repeating purchases and the brand name alone is often sufficient to provide re-assurance of quality in order for consumers to do their shopping with confidence. It can be agreed with Sterne (1999) that many of the new home shopping methods are not suitable for selling all products. For many products, such as groceries, the goods have to be delivered specially, not left on the doorstep, which makes home delivery more expensive.

It is interesting to note that delivery charges and better prices in stores are the reasons that prevent potential customers from online shopping. This can be explained by Ring & Tigert's (2001) early study that low price is always the first or second most important determinant of store choice in grocery shopping. Our data confirms Jarvenpaa & Todd's (1997) finding that 20 percent of respondents said they expected to see lower prices on the Web. They are also concerned about additional charges and were surprised not to find better deals. The finding is in line with the assertion that some consumers are price-sensitive and do not value the increased convenience provided by the WWW (Rigdon, 1995).

It is confirmed that lack of social contact is a major limitation for Internet grocery shopping and e-commerce in general. Our early discussion suggests that conventional supermarket shopping offers opportunities for gaining social experiences.

Reasons for Internet Shopping

With only 7.5 percent of the respondents having actually shopped from the supermarket Internet sites, it is a little unexpected that 47.5 percent of the responses are in favor of changing from traditional grocery shopping to Internet shopping. The underlying reasons appear to be that Internet shopping would help them to avoid some of the negative aspects of conventional shopping. Table 6 shows the details:

Table 6: Reasons for Internet Shopping



Percent (%) N = 160




Time Saving



Better Prices



More Variety






The data indicates that convenience and time saving (21.3 percent and 13.1 percent) are the main reasons that make the respondents think positively of using the Internet for home grocery shopping as opposed to visiting the supermarket/superstore. In addition, respondents comment that the great advantages of Internet shopping are to assist busy working persons/families. This confirms De Kare-Silver's (2000) argument that Internet shopping might offer advantages to the demanding modern consumer, who is often described as overworked, stressed and time-poor, and who will probably respond positively to the virtual store that can deliver satisfactorily. Finding good deals (9.4 percent responses) from the supermarket virtual store is another incentive for those who are price sensitive, however, neither Tesco nor Sainsbury attempts to make online products cheaper than products in the brick and mortar stores.

In addition, 19 respondents comment that home delivery brings great convenience for people who dislike grocery shopping. This particularly reflects a group of people as suggested by Komenar (1997) who do not have to travel to stores to pick up goods, despite subscription and delivery costs. This finding supports Jarvenpaa & Todd's (1997) argument that effort reduction and convenience are the most salient reason to shop on the World Wide Web.

As Doyle (1998) observed, virtual stores are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and they are particular suitable for busy consumers who have the opportunity to spend more time on more rewarding pursuits. Also, those who dislike grocery shopping will have the option to buy products from a distance without going to supermarkets.

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Advanced Topics in End User Computing (Vol. 3)
Advanced Topics in End User Computing, Vol. 3
ISBN: 1591402573
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 191 © 2008-2017.
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