What drives grocery loyalty online?

Caddle examines consumer preferences across major online players and explores how they can win over consumers in ecomm.


It’s been said that “there’s no loyalty among thieves,” and apparently, there’s even less loyalty when it comes to grocery brand preference in the ecomm space.

According to the latest insights from cash back rebate site, Caddle, one in two consumers are likely to use a different retailer next time they shop for groceries online.

For its eCommerce Canadian Grocery Retail Tracker report, Caddle surveyed 7,209 respondents from October 19 to November 17, finding that 50% of consumers use both home delivery and click-and-collect when it comes to grocery ecommerce. When excluding Amazon data, however, this shifts marginally in favour of click-and-collect (57%) compared to home delivery (43%).

Caddle’s retail tracker also examined consumer preferences across all major online grocery players, including Amazon, Costco, Instacart, PC Express, Metro, Save On Foods and others, looking at attributes like ease of order pick up, user friendliness, product availability, fresh food quality, cleanliness and other factors.

Amazon sat at the top of the list, with the behemoth ranking first in seven out of 12 attributes, 14 points ahead of second-place Costco. Pure-play grocery players, meanwhile, only achieved top ranking for a smattering of attributes. For example, PC Express’s sat in first place for “order available/delivered quickly,” Save on Foods’ ranked first for “cleanliness,” and recently launched Voila by Sobeys got top marks for “payment options” and “ease of pickup.”

But while Canadians are warming up to grocery ecommerce as a whole, the question is: will they stay brand loyal?

Brynn Winegard, a retail analyst and marketing instructor at York University’s Schulich School of Business says Canadians are historically loyal shoppers. “Once they find something that works, they don’t flip around, they don’t [tend to] try new things.”

In physical grocery retail, consumers have tended to be loyal to grocers within their proximity. With ecommerce, however, “it doesn’t matter that that’s my local grocery store. I don’t care where it is coming from, as long as it’s relatively quick and turnkey,” Winegard adds.

What might win all demos over, at least according to Caddle, is creating more user-friendly web and app experiences, as well as ensuring availability of items  the top two attributes that retailers need to to drive in order to boost net promotion scores and win in ecommerce.

Winegard cautions however, that Caddle data are lagging indicators, and if there is a vaccine, we may revert back to being our cautious and brand loyal selves.